So, last night at the town hall meetings, one of the topics of discussion was “sewer connectivity” or the lack thereof and yet still having to pay for the service. (And don’t even get me started on how it was supposed to go up for only 2 quarters and that was how many years ago?)
When asked about this, Mayor Nolan answered, “Our [costs are]based on connection fees and not usage – there are no meters on ours.”
Then, councilman Francy spoke up and was called on the stage and stated, “the reality is we pay by flow & our flow since the storm hasn’t gone down at all, this is what the meters say,”
Yeah… What meters would that be? The ones we don’t have?
I decided to take a look at Highlands Ordinance O-13-01-2013 (The Sewer and Water Fee Ordinance) which states:
Quarterly sewer charges herein imposed shall be based upon water consumption of the property served, as hereinafter set forth. The charges for each quarter shall be a minimum charge of $140.00 per quarter for up to 31,938 gallons of water usage. Over 31,938 gallons of water usage, additional charges shall be based on $.004424 per gallon for the excess. Sewer charges shall be based on water usage from the prior quarter. Effective 1/01/12
So a couple of things here, how are they determining which houses are over the 31k gallons if there are no meters? If our “flow” is the same and has not decreased since Sandy, why isn’t that a huge RED FLAG for anybody but me?
That absolutely positively makes no sense.
How can the flow be the same??
The only things that could possibly explain may be a) Bahrs & Wind & Sea are the biggest flow generators in Highlands and everyone is subsidizing them, b) there is a leak somewhere and we’re paying for flow we’re not actually generating.
The Mayor’s summation that it’s because all the residents are still living in Highlands, just not in their homes is silly. Anybody that has driving through Highlands after 7pm on a side street can attest to that.
Oh and by the way, there has been a break in the water line on the side walk on Waterwich Ave between the Flower Shop and the Coffee shop since Sandy, do you think that *maybe* a steady flowing water leak into the sewer system since Sandy has possibly contributed to the “flow remaining consistent”?? Maybe? – Just saying
Reconnection vs Connection Fees
I’m not seeing anything (in their ordinance) that says you can’t stop the service. There is no mention of a reconnection fee. There is mention of a “connection fee of $1500″ which is applicable only to “new residential units”. And by their own definition “new residential units” are places that didn’t have sewer connections previously like new construction or conversions, like you converted a building to condos.
Plus, anyone else remember the town hall meeting they had at the Rec center last August? (August 13th, to be exact, & I took notes.) Didn’t Rick Oneil say that the reason the sewer charges didn’t go down was the contract we had with TOMSA only allotted us a certain amount of flow and we were always over and were keep paying overage charges. Also, I remember him mentioning that someone retired early and we had to subsidize that.
And the fact that no-one has the same story isn’t supposed to make people go “huh?” boggles the mind…
Show me the Meter..
Also, section 9-8.4 of the ordinance is “Charge for Sewage Service Only.” Which states;
All premises having no connection to the water supply system and being served by their own wells or other source of supply shall have the supply metered and shall pay only the sewage service minimum rate as determined by the meter.
What meter?? I didn’t think we had a meter (Insert dripping sarcasm here) and if there are in fact meters, then the town should be able to figure out exactly where the flow is coming from and why it hasn’t changed since Sandy.