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Utility bill discount granted for inactive properties

January 30, 2013 - An amendment to Oxford Village's water and sewer ordinances that would reduce the minimum bill by 43 percent (or $22.98) for properties that are unoccupied or vacant for short or long periods of time was approved 4-0 by council last week.

An example of folks who would benefit from this proposed change are senior citizens who leave their village homes to spend the winter in warmer climates down south and out west.

Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth asked what the estimated affect this reduction would have on the annual budget.

"We figured there were a dozen (properties that would participate in this)," replied village Manager Joe Young. "Not very many people. Less than 20 people . . . Less than $500."

Normally, village residents are charged a base fee of $18.10 a month for water, which includes 2,000 gallons. Every 1,000 gallons after that costs $3.41.

Since the residence isn't utilizing any water when the owner's away for a few months, a total of $6.82 would be deducted from the water bill, which equals the 2,000 unused gallons. The resident would be charged a monthly base rate of $11.28 as opposed to the normal $18.10.

For the sewer bill, the $22.85 base charge would be discounted by $4.25, the equivalent of 8,333 gallons.

As for the monthly residential garbage bill of $11.91, it would be eliminated entirely for unoccupied properties. The manager noted once notified, the village's trash hauler, Rizzo Environmental Services, would not charge the municipality for those properties.

Combined, these discounts would reduce the normal water/sewer/garbage bill from the minimum $52.86 to $29.88.

However, in order to receive this discount, the property's water service would have to be shut off at the street. For this, the village would charge $20 to turn it off and $20 to turn it back on. This represents a $10 increase in the current $30 fee, which breaks down to $15 for turn-on service and $15 for turn-off.

Originally, it was reported as a $20 decrease due to an error in the figures supplied by Young in the council packet.

Water shut-offs and turn-ons that occur when overtime rates apply, such as nights and weekends, would remain $50.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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