The City Council voted Tuesday to delay penalty fines for residents who did not meet water conservation goals established by the water conservation ordinance passed in May.
The penalty phase will now be introduced for bills collected after November.
According to the city's staff report, the decision was driven is that in some cases, water meter readers recorded water use over a 72 day period instead of the 60 day period that the city intended to use to compare to historical 60-day usage, making it difficult to calculate resident's usage accurately.
The restrictions passed in May by the City Council and later amended in June mandated that residents make a 20 percent usage cut compared to past years or face fines, a response to a dry winter that resulted in a reduction of local water sources that Sierra Madre relies on.
According to the city's figures, the city as a whole has surpassed or come very close to the 20 percent mark in the last three months, with a 19.8 reduction in July compared to usage in July in an earlier year, a 26.6 percent reduction in August and a 19.6 percent reduction in September to date.
Consequently, city staff do not feel it should be a priority to penalize individuals who may not have reduced use as significantly, according to the report.