Mayor James Melfi is trying to catch a thief, and he wants City Council's help in making the punishment severe.
Melfi told City Council Monday that someone has been taking water from different hydrants in Weathersfield Township for the last six months. He said that at least ''a couple thousand dollars'' of water has been stolen, but he said what is even more important is that an unauthorized person is gaining access to the city's water supply.
Girard supplies water to the section of Weathersfield where the hydrants are.
Melfi asked council if they could look at any existing ordinances that cover unauthorized use of utilities or perhaps create an ordinance that would make the penalties severe for anyone caught tampering with a city utility.
''I want to make it hurt when we do apprehend this person,'' Melfi said.
Councilman Frank Migliozzi, D-1st Ward, asked Melfi if water customers have been turning their water back on after it's been shut off. Melfi said that has been happening since the city got more aggressive in collecting water bills this year to help combat a deficit in the department.
''Certainly we have that problem with people who have been shut off,'' Melfi said.
In other business, council passed emergency legislation authorizing the city to join an electrical aggregation program, which voters approved in the May 5 primary election.
The city is entering into an agreement with First Energy Solutions, which runs a similar program in Cortland and Struthers, said Utility Committee Chairman Brian Kren, D-at Large.
Kren said residents will see a 10 percent savings in 2009, a 6 percent savings in 2010, a 5 percent savings in 2011 and 4 percent savings in the first three months of 2012.
The city must still hold two public hearings, and Kren said he is trying to finalize dates for them.
Residents approved the city joining an opt-out program, which means residents in the city must chose another electrical supplier if they do not want to be in the program.
Melfi said he likes it because it gives residents immediate savings.
''They're going to save from the get go, and that's a good thing,'' Melfi said.