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Springdale Council investigates possibility of changing water, sewer and trash collection billing

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Springdale Council is investigating the possibility of changing water, sewer and trash collection billing from quarterly to monthly.

Council members say there are several reasons for the possible change for the borough Water Department. Economics plays a large part.

Monthly billing could cut down on the number of delinquent bills, Borough Manager Ron Borczyk said.

The department provides water and bills for water, trash and sewage for about 1,770 customers.

Borczyk said that the department does not have that many delinquent accounts — about 125 a quarter — and even fewer quarter-to-quarter delinquent accounts.

Council would need to pass an ordinance to change the billing cycle, and Borczyk said there is no time line that council is considering for a change.

Councilman Frank G. Forbes, who is the police clerk at Tarentum Borough, said that Tarentum bills monthly for water and electric, and that seems to work well.

Council President David E. Finley pointed out that the $75 deposit collected by the authority when a resident opens a new account rarely covers the average bill of $125 a quarter.

“If we bill monthly, if someone leaves without notifying us or paying, their deposit will cover that,” he said.

Councilman John R. Molnar said he opposes the monthly billing plan. He said it could create more work for the water department employees, and many residents have become acclimated to paying quarterly.

He said he is concerned that water employees would have to read meters every month, instead of every quarter, which could be time consuming.

Monthly billing would cost the borough $7,000 a year in postage, Molnar said.

Molnar said he opposes billing like the gas company, which he says estimates two months usage and takes the actual reading the third month.

Instead, he suggested allowing residents who want or need a monthly billing cycle to be able to pay that way.

The borough already works with residents who have trouble paying their quarterly bill, Molnar said.

“It's not a cut-and-dried situation,” he said. “We work with people all the time. We set up a payment program; we just don't run and shut water off.”

Council expected to pass a 2013 budget with no tax increase.

The millage rate is expected to remain 6.5 mills.

Kate Wilcox is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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