Sesser water will stay on

SESSER, IL (KFVS) - The City of Sesser and the Rend Lake Conservancy District have reached an eleventh-hour deal that will keep the water flowing; but much of the day Thursday, Sesser residents and business owners wondered if they'd still have water Friday.

"Everybody's talking about it," said Tammy Winberry. "Everyone's concerned,"

Workers at the Opera House Cafe spent most of their Thursday wondering if they'd get some unwanted days off - because without water, the restaurant can't operate.

"We wouldn't be able to open," said Winberry. "We can't cook without water, you have to have running water to run a business, you have to have bathrooms to for guests to use."

Winberry is a cook at the Opera House Cafe. She also lives in Sesser. No water would not only shrink her paycheck, it'd put a squeeze on her home life as well.

"People are trying to figure out how long am I going to have to go without taking a shower, or being able to use my water to make coffee."

Others made plans just in case they woke to find Sesser dry Friday morning.

"My brother-in-law sent us to rural king in Benton to buy five, five-gallon buckets to be able to flush toilets," said Anthony Ward of Sesser. "Because you don't know. I'm hoping it won't go off."

Meantime, Sesser emergency crews also prepared for the worst.

"I've spoken with the fire chief, they've made necessary arrangements with other departments to shuttle tanker water if it's required due to a large fire," said Sesser Police Chief Robert Barrett.

In the end, the fears washed away. The water will stay on, and this water fight will resume in court.

Sesser has agreed to immediately pay $15,000 dollars to the Rend Lake Conservancy, make full water payments from now on, and provide a monthly statement showing that at least $90,000 is being held in a designated fund.

Rend Lake Conservancy gave the City of Sesser 30 days notice that the water would be shut off if the overdue balance on the town's the water bill wasn't paid, or the money owed wasn't placed in escrow.

Sesser Mayor Ned Mitchell said the city had been shorting its water payment by $5,000 a month to recoup what he and the city council viewed as an overcharge due to a faulty water meter.

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