Tonawanda News

The Town

September 12, 2012

Complaint leads to sewer study

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Director of  Water Resources Ken Maving gave a presentation on the town’s sewer billing practices at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday in response to a resident’s concern due to his high bills. 

“Approximately a month ago, a resident, Kenneth Martin, asked us to look into our sewer billing,” Councilman Joe Emminger said.

Martin, of Parker Boulevard, had inquired about the possibility of individual irrigation meters and other options to reduce residents’ bills. 

But Maving’s presentation showed that the town’s sewer practices are the most efficient way of charging residents and coming up with the $12 million needed in revenue. Since the Wastewater Treatment Facility was installed in 1978, the quarterly sewer bill is based on two factors — water and sewage usage and a property tax. 

As a result of the town’s policy, Tonawanda has one of the lowest average sewage bills in Western and Central New York with $17.32 for a monthly charge, according to Maving. The average in the area is $32.14.

“We are looking very good in comparison,” Maving said.

Maving said the irrigation meters Martin is pushing for could be an opt-in option for residents, and are used in the City of Tonawanda, but would likely be very costly.

The City of Tonawanda only has about 8 percent of residents using an irrigation meter and only has one or two applicants per year. The cost to the resident would be about $500 or more, which includes the purchase of the meter, a permit, an outside reader and the hiring of a plumber for inspection purposes. That figure doesn’t include an administration cost the town could apply. 

And Maving said any lost revenue from those opt-in residents would be redistributed to others living in the town. 

“I talked to a lot of different municipalities and districts, and we have the most equitable system right now as is,” Maving said. 

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