The first step toward lowering the unmetered sewer rate in Crothersville has been taken.
During a recent meeting, the Crothersville Town Council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance to change the monthly flat rate for unmetered users from $105.61 to $76.51.
A public hearing will be conducted during the April 6 council meeting to give people a chance to comment on the ordinance. Later in the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at the town hall, 111 E. Howard St., Crothersville, the council will consider approval of the second and final reading.
If that passes, the rate change would take effect with the May billing, which would be received by customers in June.
At some point in the past, Crothersville officials established a sewer rate for utilities customers without town water based on 6,000 gallons of monthly usage.
With the sewer rate increase that started in February, the monthly flat rate for unmetered users also jumped.
Council President Danieta Foster said it was established that the town may make a property owner hook up to the town’s sewer line if they are within 300 feet of it.
Some residences are hooked up and pay the flat rate because they are outside town limits and don’t have town water, so there’s no way of metering their line, and they receive a large sewer bill, she said.
There are 16 property owners impacted. A couple are on Bethany Road, while the rest are on Moore Street and County Road 600S. Foster said most are one- or two-person households with a monthly usage of 3,000 to 4,000 gallons.
During the February council meeting, Foster proposed having the property owners buy a meter or lowering the rate. She favored the latter option, and her fellow council members agreed.
Based on 4,000 gallons of monthly usage, the rate would change to $76.51, which is a $13.23 increase from last year.
For the town, Foster said it would result in a reduction in revenue of $5,936.40 a year for all 16 homes.
She also said there are some properties not hooked to the town’s sewer line.
“If this passes, from the day that it starts forward, these people would not have to pay the sewer if they are not hooked onto it,” Foster said. “That would be an additional $1,267.32 (loss of revenue) for each one of those.”
If the ordinance passes, there would be a total yearly reduction in revenue of less than $10,000, Foster said.
Utility Director Mason Boicourt agreed the unmetered rate is too high since most of the homes impacted have one or two residents.
He, however, said for businesses with higher water usage, the town should reserve the right to do a water use study over a certain period of time and either install a meter or have the property owner do it at their expense. He said the industries in town own their meters and share their readings each month with the town hall for billing purposes.
Foster asked town attorney Jeff Lorenzo if the town could have separate rates for residential and commercial properties. He said that’s where a usage study would be performed.
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What: Crothersville Town Council meeting
When: 6 p.m. April 6
Where: Crothersville Town Hall, 111 E. Howard St., Crothersville
Who: Open to the public and press; attendees must wear a mask
On the agenda: The meeting will start with a public hearing on an ordinance to reduce the unmetered sewer rate
Online: The meeting also can be viewed online via Facebook Live at facebook.com/townofcrothersville