Town seeks utility fees from school New Windsor at odds with educators on bill

August 17, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Representatives from the Carroll County school system and the New Windsor town government are at odds over how to assess water and sewer fees for the town's new middle school.

Dr. Lester Surber, supervisor of school facilities and planning, who will meet with town representatives again this morning, said yesterday that the town expects the school system to pay fees that are calculated as if the building were a multi-unit residential community.

"You cannot equate a school building with 57 lots in a subdivision," Dr. Surber said. "The building isn't being occupied 24 hours a day.

"This is one facility that is occupied about eight hours a day by about 600 individuals."

Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. said the fees are not assessed according to the number of lots developed, but by the number of "dwelling units" accommodated by the structure.

Dwelling units are determined by engineers who consider water flow rates, water usage and the number of outlets -- sinks, showers, toilets, etc. -- in a particular structure.

"What their [the school system] engineers reported to our engineer indicated that the school building will be equal to 57 dwelling units," Mr. Gullo said. "Fifty-seven dwelling units would use the same amount of water and sewage that his school would."

New Windsor assesses developers a one-time fee of $2,500 per dwelling unit for water connection and $1,500 per dwelling unit for sewer connection. The town seeks to collect $228,000 in water and sewer hookup charges from the school system, Mr. Gullo said.

Dr. Surber said the school system already is paying $56,500 for all water and sewer extensions out to the site. In addition, it is paying $13,500 for off-site construction of sidewalks.

Mr. Gullo said the additional money the town is asking for will cover the cost of dealing with the school's impact on the town's water and sewer system.

"My position, being the mayor, is that we are charging the school because that is the cost that the town will have to bear to improve its infrastructure for the school," the mayor said.

"Without the school using the town services, our need for improvement would not be as urgent or substantial.

"If the school does not pay its pro rata share of the improvement costs, the burden will fall on the town to pay the difference, meaning the taxpayers," Mr. Gullo said. "I don't think that it is fair that the citizens of New Windsor should bear that burden."

Construction on the $7 million project could be held up until an agreement is reached. A signature from a representative of the town government is the only authorization needed to complete the school board's building permit.

"All the sign-offs have been accomplished except for the remaining one in New Windsor," Dr. Surber said.

He said he is optimistic that today's meeting will produce a solution that satisfies everyone.

"I believe we can meet a reasonable settlement," he said.

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