The Southeast town board is working to come up with a consistent policy to assure that property owners pay their fair share of water and sewer rates.
At the June 27 town board meeting, Supervisor Tony Hay told his colleagues he has been working for a few months with Willis Stephens, Jr., town attorney, and other town staff on the issue.
“We found people that are being charged different rates and we couldn’t identify a reason why,” Hay said. “We’ve gone through a lot of numbers.”
Hay used the Peaceable Hill Water District as an example of the inconsistencies in billing property owners. Two Peaceable Hill properties, which have wells, have been charged capital costs even though the parcels are not in the water district, Hay said.
If a person in the future wants to purchase a vacant property, the town needs to come up with a policy to determine how much the buyer would be charged for capital costs, Hay said.
“Everyone‘s charged a certain amount of money each month,” he noted. A new property owner living in a district in which capital borrowing costs are still being paid off needs to pay a portion of the cost, Hay said.
Hay said through research so far by the town there is nothing that spells out “how the charges originated.”
People who have wells are going to ask why they are paying capital cost even though they are not receiving water plant services, Hay said, even though the charges are “not going to make or break anyone.”
The town board needs to come up with an equitable formula for water and sewer fees, Hay said.
“We have come up with some kind of a plan and whatever it is we have to make it consistent with all the water districts in the town,” he said.
Hay’s colleagues agreed with his goal to come up with an equitable formula for water and sewer charges. Councilman John Lord said all property owners in a district should contribute a portion of the capital costs.
The town board is scheduled to continue the discussion on water and sewer rates when it meets on July 11. “This is just round one to let you know this is coming down the pike,” Hay said.