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Manlius discusses changes to water billing fees

MANLIUS – The Manlius Village Board met in a special meeting on Tuesday night to comb through the village’s water billing ordinance and make recommendations for changes to current fees charged for water usage.

The issue of water fees has been a topic of discussion at the last couple village board meetings, therefore village president Rob Hewitt scheduled a special meeting to discuss changes that would better benefit residents and the village.

Village board members Dawn Reglin and Darrell Anderson joined Hewitt, village clerk Lori Roush and water billing clerk Susan Marie Elmendorf on Tuesday. The changes board members discussed and agreed upon will have to be brought to the full board at the next meeting to be voted on and put into affect.

The first water fee brought to light was the $25 monthly fee charged to property owners regardless of whether their structure is occupied or not.

Board members all agreed the $25 fee should be scratched for property owners who have a residence, but don’t have running water.

The board also discussed changing the current $50 fee to have a name change on a water bill account.

Reglin believes the current fee amount is “steep.”

“Wouldn’t you rather have people calling you and making sure bills are in the right name and not worrying about paying the $50?” she questioned.

Reglin recognized changing a name on an account takes time, but suggested reducing the fee to $10 so residents are not discouraged to call and change the account name.

The board members agreed the fee amount should be changed, however didn’t come to an agreement on what price to charge. The issue will be brought to the full board to get a final decision.

Elmendorf brought up making changes to how the village doubles late fees for residents each month they do not pay a water bill.

The village currently charges a $5 late fee on water bills. Each month the water bill is not paid, the late fee doubles.

“If you can’t pay your original water bill, it’s going to be difficult to come up with the $40 or $80 late fee,” she explained.

Elmendorf suggested not getting rid of the late fee, but taking away doubling the late fee. Hewitt agreed with Elmendorf’s request, saying doubling the amount could really hurt someone who is struggling to keep up with their bill. He suggested the village charge a flat $10 late fee and get rid of the doubling charge.

The board will bring the idea to the full board to make a decision.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. July 9.

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