Mayor to Sewer Board: Send rate change request to Council

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lewisburg Mayor Barbara Woods has asked the city's water and wastewater superintendent to facilitate a request from the water utility for a review of sewer use fees by the city council on Feb. 8.

The utility is chartered separately from the city and councilmen have no control over charges by the utility to be paid by customers unless the utility board sends a request for action to the city council. Woods' letter reflects that aspect of the relationship.

The motive for the letter is continued discussion at City Hall when the council meets and is confronted by some residents who have been persistent in their complaints that some city water customers are paying for sewer service when they are not connected and have a working septic tank.

Such a charge is imposed for the availability of sewer service when the sewer is within a certain distance that has been determined as close enough to mean service is available. That's done in other municipalities. Some charge a flat fee, or a minimum rate. Others, like Lewisburg charge according to the volume of water purchased even though it's not flushed or drained into the sanitary sewer system.

Discussion on this subject has continued since early last summer and councilmen have called for steps that might result in a conclusion of this issue. It affects approximately 25-30 residences, according to Councilman Hershel Davis, chairman of the Water and Wastewater Board.

Below here is the text of the mayor's letter to Water and Wastewater Superintendent Kenneth Carr. It was dated Thursday, Jan. 13.

Dear Kenneth:

As you are aware, the City Council has been dealing with an issue concerning sewer rates for residents that are not connected to the city sewer. These residents are requesting a minimum charge for sewer.

At the January 11, 2011 meeting of the Mayor and City Council, the Council was made aware the Water/Sewer Board approved to request the City Council review the Sewer Use Ordinance concerning sewer use fees at their August 19, 2010 meeting. This request has not officially been made.

As you are aware, Chapter 4, Section 2-403 of the City's Municipal Code states whenever an adjustment in user fees for water and/or sewage is voted on by the Water/Sewer Board, such adjustment shall require city council approval prior to becoming effective. If an adjustment is being requested by said Board, the City Council has not been made aware of this intent.

Hopefully to resolve this issue, and upon endorsement of the City Council, I am respectfully calling for a request for this item to be placed on the February 8, 2011 City Council Agenda by a representative of the Water and Sewer Department and/or Board, and a representative for the department and/or Board be present at this meeting.


Mayor Barbara Woods

Copies were sent to Dan Whitaker, attorney Lewisburg Water/Wastewater, members of the Lewisburg Water/Wastewater Board and City Attorney Steve Broadway.