Thursday, April 3, 2014 —
The town of New London no longer has to worry about lagging behind the other areas of Stanly County when it comes to sewer fees and the costs to reconnect water and sewer. And the best part is, neither will its current residents and businesses.
The town board voted unanimously — minus Commissioner Marcus Mullis, who was absent — to raise its rates for sewer fees and for reconnecting water and sewer lines. That means future residents and businesses will have to pay the new prices. Current residents and businesses will keep the previous fees as long as there is no disruption in service.
That move stemmed from a church on N.C. Highway 740 that has to have its sewer tap across the road from where it is located. That resulted in the town having to pay to bore a hole under the highway from the church to the sewer tap, a $2,000 price tag the town essentially had to pay for out of its own pocket.
Mayor Tate Daniels and Commissioner Bill Peak compared the prices of other towns in the county and came up with new fees they felt were in line with what was being charged elsewhere.
“When we realized on the boring fee, when we were losing money on that, we decided then to look and do this comparison with all the towns and county and see what their fees were and make sure we get in line,” Daniels said.
“On our sewer tap fees, what we were charging, it could vary because there’s not a set fee from the contractor. He comes out and looks and says, ‘This one is a lot harder than the one down the street.’ We have to pay by what he charges, and we never know what the job is gonna cost until he gets done.
“We were charging $1,200 for a tap and sometimes it would be more than $1,200 and when it is, we just have to absorb the cost. That’s one of the reasons for changing that. The boring fee, the times we’ve had to do it, we’ve just had to absorb it. We just can’t do it anymore.”
A residential sewer tap increases from $1,200 to $2,000 while a commercial sewer tap goes from $1,200 to $2,500. The price for a grinder pump goes up $1,000 to $4,500 and a road bore fee of $50 per foot was also voted into place.
Reconnecting water during regular business hours for services that have been turned off goes from $30 to $50. After business hours fees go from $30 to $100. A new sewer account service fee of $100 was also voted into place while late fees and returned check fees will remain the same. The security deposit refund will be determined per Pfeiffer-North Stanly Water Association guidelines.
“These costs were all set 11 years ago when we put the sewer system in and nothing has been updated since,” said Peak, who handles water and sewer issues for the town.
“The fact we’ve had to do two borings for sewer lines under roads, the first time it was one of the streets in the town. The second time is underneath (N.C.) 740, which is 40 feet wide, which will cost us like $2,000. They (the church) were not prepared to be charged that when getting a sewer tap, so the town basically eats that.”
Proposed changes to the town’s water and sewer rates were discussed but actions will not be taken until at least when the new fiscal year begins in July.
Other subjects covered in Tuesday’s meeting:
nCommissioner Dan Phillips said he and Daniels drove around town to access water runoff and any problems resulting from it. There were at least four problems that needed to be addressed. A proposal from Trent Atley to fix the issues at a cost of $2,500 was presented to the board and approved in a vote. The work will be paid for through Powell Bill funds.
nThe board voted to keep Miley Elliott in charge of mowing the streets and sewer lines for the next two years. Though Elliott raised his prices from $240 to $320 for street mowing and $220 to $295 for sewer, the costs would not change for two years. Powell Bill proceeds will also go toward paying for this contract.
nThe board removed its own vote about the town’s burning permit process. Last month, the board voted that residents only needed a state permit to burn something within the town limits. The town was notified it needed to amend or rewrite its ordinance instead. Actions will be taken to do this and a new ordinance will be presented at a future public hearing before a vote is conducted.
nThe board approved an amended fire protection and emergency services agreement with New London Volunteer Fire Department. Language in the agreement held up a vote on it at last month’s meeting.
nA letter from the N.C. Department of Transportation said the town was over in its last 10 allocations for Powell Bill funds use by a considerable amount. But since the town is currently under 5,000 in population, it can get an extension from 10-20 allocations. The town submitted a letter by the required deadline and received a verbal approval. The state distributes Powell bill funds twice a year.
nThe town’s latest water analysis looked good, Peak said. The Highland generator has been experiencing problems that will be fixed.
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