Archived Story

Windsor council to research water bill

Published 10:17am Friday, April 12, 2013

BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Playback58@gmail.com

WINDSOR—A Windsor man’s request for some relief on his water bill is prompting Windsor Town Council to examine how other localities handle such an issue.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, Allen Brown of Bank Street explained his recent water bill of a little over $1,081 led him to discover a leak on his property. Apparently the water was seeping directly into the ground, and there was no obvious evidence, he said.

“The leak was at the end of my system and didn’t affect water pressure at home,” Brown later told The Tidewater News.

The sewer charge, which is based on water use, was $700 more. That and a county fee totaled $1,800.

During later discussion, council members learned that Brown’s typical water bill is about $80 to $100 in a billing cycle, which is two month’s use.

Explaining the situation to the Hampton Roads Sanitation Department and Isle of Wight County, Brown was able to have about $700 knocked off from the bill.

“If I’d have known it was leaking, fine,” said Brown about his request to council for a further reduction. Since the discovery of a broken pipe, a shut-off valve has been installed, though the leak has not yet been fixed, he added.

The town policy on such matters dates to 1997, and essentially states that a resident pays for water going through his or her meter, said Town Manager Michael Stallings. Further, if a leak is a resident’s fault, then it’s also that person’s responsibility to pay the bill.

Town Clerk and Treasurer Robin Hewett said the policy was developed because of people not fixing leaks.

Mayor Rita Richardson would like to see some kind of a cap on such high charges.

“I feel when it’s astronomical and in one billing cycle, it would behoove us to do so,” she said.

Vice Mayor Wesley Garris questioned about making any exceptions.

“Where do you stop and where do you don’t stop,” he said.

Richardson asked Stallings to find out what HRSD does for other localities in such instances and also to research water bill policies elsewhere.

In other business, Councilman N. Macon Edwards was the dissenting vote when council voted 5-1 after a closed session to accept the donation of 4.1 acres on Bank Street from Farmer’s Bank. Further, council will pay up to $4,000 to defray the bank’s expenses in the matter.

Although council was not seeking to get any more property, said Richardson, the offer was too good to pass up.

“It’s a great opportunity for the town for something in the future,” she said.

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