Maving agrees with Town billing process
Ken Maving, director of the Water Resource Department, was asked to look into alternative billing options for sewer billing practices, in order to determine if the town was exercising the best way to bill residents.
Maving sought help from the comptroller’s office, the town attorney, the building department, and CRA Engineering.
His findings including the following:
The Water Resource Department is made up of three different departments. The Water Acquisition and Storage District, which includes the water distribution lines and maintenance is the first department. This district is funded from 100 percent of water sales.
The second, is The Drainage District, which is funded by the tax levy. The total district budget is approximately $800,000.
The third and largest district is the Sewer Consolidated District, which includes the duties of running the water treatment plant, sewer pump stations, maintaining the collection system, sewer administration, the sump pump program and more.
The approximate cost required to run this department is $12 million.
Seventy percent of the revenue used to fund this department comes from sewer rents (a scale of consumption).
This is equal to $8.5 million and stems directly from water sales.
This cost appears of each residents water bill and currently estimated at $2.39 per thousand for residents.
Maving stated the current billing structure was originated in 1978. It was a requirement of the town construction grant money that the town charge all customers their proportionate costs for sewer rents.
“The way things are billed has been challenged numerous times in New York State,” said Maving. “It only requires a rational basis for sewer charges, rather than an exact mathematical equation.”
An approximate usage of rates is allowed by law.
The cost of running the waste water treatment plant is $5.5 million per year. Sewer rents only pay for a portion of running the facility.
The cost to residents for sewer rents, for families using approximately 7,500 gallons of water, is estimated at $17.38 per household per month. Residents are billed for this consumption quarterly. The cost of the tax levy is also added to this bill.
“We are looking very good in comparison to other local areas,” said Maving. “The Town of Tonawanda water rates fall under one of the lowest rates in New York State.”
Another option Maving looked into was the installation of a deduct meter.
This is being done in other municipalities, Maving noted there are roughly eight percent of the households in The City of Tonawanda that have a deduct meter. This change took place in the 1980s and there are about 400 to 500 residents with deduct meters. This would be a cost to the homeowner.
After looking into alternative sewer billing structures, Maving still thinks the current way the town id billing is the fairest way to bill for sewer usages.
“It’s the most equitable choice. It’s in municipal law,” said Maving.
Councilwoman Lisa Chimera said, “We wanted to make sure we were making an educated decision. We appreciate the hard data portion of the presentation. You can rest your hat on that, it’s what counts.”
In other town news:
• Paul Chimera, resident, just moved to the town from Snyder. When he purchased his home, he didn’t realize he lived a quarter mile from train tracks.
After experiencing the loud horn, that sounded at 4 a.m., he looking into finding an alternative to try and eliminate the sound of the horn that early in the morning. He found an option called, the establishment of a quiet zone.
The change came with a list of instructions that would have to be done from a community government level in order to get something in place to reduce or eliminate the horn at that time.
The town agreed to look into this, however they were not positive that something would be put in place after they speak with CSX and the DOT.
• Town of Tonawanda Resident Jim Binner moved into his Lincoln Park area home in 1995. After keeping up his home and taking responsibility as a home owner, he has noticed a significant decline in the area within the past two years.
He quoted the problem areas as Harrison Avenue and Highland Avenue. He believes the residents that are living there and the low income housing is the problem for the decline.
“You don’t feel safe, its filthy, there is garbage everywhere, the lawns aren’t getting cut and I am going to lose money on my home. According to my real estate agent, I live on one of the worst blocks to sell a house right now,” said Bitter.
He added that he is bothered that you don’t have to be a resident to rent the pavilions in Lincoln Park.
Bitter questioned the board and asked, “What are you going to do to those home owners to encourage those residents to clean up their homes?”
Both the board and police stated they have received word of the problems in the area and they have increased police presents, but they can’t be there 24 hours a day.
• The town will start the process of getting out of the sludge management business by hauling its sludge to another incineration point in the area. The cost is projected at $578,100.
• The board passed a resolution to support the removal of the Williamsville Toll Barrier.
The Town of Amherst asked New York State Thruway Authority Chairman Howard Millstein to host his upcoming board meeting in the Buffalo location. During which, Amherst hopes Millstein can address the reasons why the removal of the tolls was approved in 2006 and the project has made no progress since. Also asked to support bringing the representative to Amherst were: The Town of Akron, City of Buffalo, Town of Lancaster, Village of Lancaster, Town of Clarence, Town of Cheektowaga, Town of Newstead and the Village of Williamsville.
Town Supervisor Anthony Caruana went on to explain what the board was voting to support, “Exit 49 was approved to be moved or relocated, Williamsville is asking us to support them in getting the state to come here and make a determination. In the future, we will be doing the same thing regarding the tolls at the Grand Island Bridge.”
• The board approved the start of the demolition of the Green Acres Water Storage Tank, which has been empty since 1996. The cost of demolition is projected at $29,000.
“We think this will be an improvement for the residents,” said Councilman Joe Emminger.