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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fillmore Town Council still seeking water payments

Friday, January 9, 2009

FILLMORE -- Fillmore Town Council members Jeff Osborn, Alan Jones and Wes Terhune are serious about collecting arrearages in water and sewer bills. Last chance arrears letters will be sent to those who still have unpaid utility bills for sewer and water.

Several months ago, the council decided to give people until Jan. 1, 2009 to get bills current. Beginning with the Jan. 20 billing, those with outstanding fees who have not made arrangements with the town will receive letters giving them 10 days to pay or have their water shut off.

"We've had a couple of people come in and pay $1,000 this month to get current, but we still have people who haven't paid out there. Some of them are long gone. I don't know if we'll be able to collect those or not," Town Clerk Wanda Seidler told council members at Thursday evening's meeting.

There are some people in the town who owe $3,000-$4,000 in back bills.

Jones reported to the Council that sewer and water utilities last year came up $16,292 in the negative. The town took in $182,000 for sewers and spent $204,853. In water, they spent $278,000 and took in $295,000.

The continuing problem with sewer costs for the town has led council members to consider moving everyone on to metered water and sewer.

"This is something we are just beginning to talk about," said Osborn. He explained that there is an inequity in what people have to pay for usage, citing the example that many homes use only one unit of water or less, but are required to pay for a minimum of two units.

There is also an issue with people who have sump pumps or wells hooked into the city system.

"They use 1,000 gallons of city water then switch to their well. They pay about $27 for that, but that water and all the well water used go into the sewer and they aren't getting charged for that," explained Jones.

"It's the sewer costs that are the biggest problem," commented one audience member.

Construction owner Steve Bunten questioned having to give up his wells. Terhune answered him, saying wells don't have to go away unless they are being used in homes.

Terhune uses wells and hydrants on his property but they are in use in his barn, not his home.

"They don't go into the sewer system," he said.

Osborn also reported on an engineering study completed recently to study the infrastructure of the sewer system.

Wessler & Associates identified problems with infiltration in the town's sewer system. The study was paid for with a $4,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment. The company used smoke testing on Main Street and Cemetery Road to identify any sump pumps and other problems in the system.

Smoke testing involves blowing harmless smoke into the sewer system to determine the location of connections. Those connections, along with any leaks, were marked.

Several problems were identified with the smoke testing, including one sump pump hooked into the system. The study also provided suggestions for making improvements to the infrastructure.

The study was part of a larger plan that includes improving drainage in the town. Costs are projected to be around $650,000.

The Lilly Endowment money most likely can't be used to repair storm drains, which are part of the problem, so the group is looking at grants from the FOCUS Fund and other possible sources.

A meeting to show the footage from the survey (in a DVD format) will be set up for residents to view. The date and time will be announced soon. It will take place at Town Hall.

Jones reported that most of the 911 address updates are ready. Out of 250 addresses, 120 will be changed.

"There are still a few addresses that need adjusting. House numbers are really messed up in some parts of town," said Jones.

Letters will be sent to homeowners by Emergency 911 with new numbers and specifications about size and placement of the numbers sometime this year.

Bunten brought up a concern with the cost for businesses having to change all their advertising, contracts and stationary with new addresses.

"This can really cost a lot of money," he told council members.

"Not doing it can cost a life. We already had a problem with a man having a heart attack and emergency people couldn't identify where he was. It took over five minutes to find the house because there weren't any numbers on some of the houses and the numbers aren't in order," responded Jones.

The Fillmore Town Council meets on the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

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That what you get for Charging people so much for water!!

I am glad I don't live in and will never live in Fillmore! You can't afford your rent due to the cost of giving your kids showers and washing your clothes!!

If you lower the price of something God gave us for free anyways, people would probably pay their bill!

-- Posted by luv2bmom2001 on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 10:53 AM

I live in Fillmore and have been to the meetings and have asked the board members to no avail, Why can't Fillmore build its own water and sewage plant???? Bainbridge has one... Coatesville has one.....Why can't we get grants or some sort of money to get one instead of buying our water from Greencastle? Has there ever been any studies done for this?

Also, why are there some people who have to purchase water and sewage then there are others who have built new houses, within the last few years and did not have to sign up? Maybe the 2 or 3 new house west of the liquior store. Whats up with that? If I tear down my old house and build a new one will I be able to get out of having to use this over priced service?

-- Posted by dcsaiht on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 11:31 AM

If they don't pay, don't just threat to shut the water off. Do it.

-- Posted by floyd'srangerriders on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 11:50 AM

If you do not want to pay for municipal water because of the cost, you can hire a well driller to drill you a well. If you use your own private water well but utilize the towns sewer you should pay either a flat fee or have your water "metered" to provide info on what to pay. This is what many cities/towns do. Water is free, it is the cost to provide it that you are being charged for. If it is too high, get it yourself or hire someone to get it for you, but you should still pay to have it processed, unless you can do it yourself safely. If someone is utilizing both their well water and municipal water by simply turning a valve, it would not be "legal". It must have a "back flow preventer". Any plumber or well driller can explain this.

-- Posted by bambam854 on Mon, Feb 2, 2009, at 10:05 AM

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