Mt. Jewett may end 'flat rate' for sewage

Staff Writer

By Ted Lutz
Republican Staff
MT. JEWETT -- A "flat rate" for sewage may be headed down the drain in Mt. Jewett.
Under the current billing plan adopted last June, all sewage-users in Mt. Jewett pay $40 per month.
But critics claim this rate is unfair to senior citizens and one-person households with minimal water usage.
The Mt. Jewett Regional Sewer Authority now is considering a move to revert back to a plan to bill for sewage based on water use.
"We're going to try to make it fair for everybody," Authority Chairman Gene Ginkel said Tuesday. He said again basing sewer bills on water use especially would benefit "the older people in our community."
Before the rate hike last summer, Mt. Jewett sewage customers paid $19 per month for the first 4,000 gallons of water used.
Barb Harp, the secretary-treasurer for the authority, said at the time that about 160 sewer customers paid this minimum charge.
With a $40 "flat rate," these same low-water-use customers saw their sewer bills more than double.
Harp pointed out at the time that some high water-use families would see a decrease in their sewer bills with the $40 "flat rate."
The authority adopted the $40 "flat rate" to get a better grip on its financial situation and revenue flow.
Ginkel said any change from the "flat rate" would need to generate a similar amount of revenue for the authority.
Acting at its meeting Tuesday at the borough building, the six-member Mt. Jewett sewer board asked Harp to prepare an analysis of rates for consideration at the March 8 meeting.
If the authority goes back to using water usage, it will need to obtain its data from Aqua. This is the private company that now operates the Mt. Jewett water system.
Aqua has said it would provide the water-use figures to the authority-- at a fee. Ginkel said this fee would be taken into consideration by the authority in setting a new sewage billing system.