New Windsor changes inequities in sewer rate

January 06, 1995|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

New Windsor will show no more favoritism to its sewer customers. The Town Council voted Wednesday to eliminate the "special rate" charged to four local users.

Residents pay the town at a rate of $2 per 1,000 gallons of water used, but the New Windsor Middle School, Scotties Coin Wash Laundromat and the Brethren Service Center's Old Main Building are charged 52 cents per 1,000 gallons. St. Paul's United Methodist Church pays 14 cents.

"This is a glaring error which won't continue," said Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. "Why should all the residents subsidize four?"

When the quarterly bills go out this month, the town will assess everyone, whether a business or a residence, at the same rate.

"Sewer bills have been incorrectly calculated for a long time," said the mayor. "From now on, it will be corrected.

The mayor found what he called "four long-standing bookkeeping errors," when he reviewed town records.

"We have to make things right," he said.

The town will not demand retroactive payment, because no one

knows how far back the error extends.

Mr. Gullo, who took office in May 1993, said he has no idea how long the town has given the exemptions.

"The previous clerk told us that this practice is the way it's been for a long time," he said.

Mr. Gullo said he is at a loss to explain the logic for the exemptions.

"If this were for nonprofits, why not give the same rate to the Presbyterian Church?" he asked.

The policy will have little effect on St. Paul's, which used 7,500 gallons last quarter and will pay the minimum $20 charge.

The other three exempted users frequently have been the greatest consumers of town utilities, often for a combined total of as much as 500,000 gallons a quarter, the mayor said.

A review of water and sewer use for the quarter, which ended Oct. 1, confirmed that assessment. The laundromat used 150,000 gallons.

The middle school averages 280,000 gallons each quarter that classes are in session.

Old Main, which houses the Brethren Center's dormitories and cafeteria, frequently uses several hundred thousand gallons a quarter, depending upon the number of visitors staying there, Mr. Gullo said.

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