Zero use, zero bill

Zero use, zero bill

There are 18 comments on the Evening Sun story from May 25, 2011, titled Zero use, zero bill. In it, Evening Sun reports that:

Even if you're away for a long period and not using any water at your Penn Township home, you're still responsible each quarter for the associated costs of being hooked into the township's sewer system, and still charged a fee for the minimum usage level.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Evening Sun.

Your kidding

Chambersburg, PA

#1 May 26, 2011
This is splitting hairs..... Expenses go on and I for one think this is wrong... I understand where Jeff is coming from and it's nice of him to think of the home owner, but I'm not so sure this is really helping anybody... Does this really occur that often [no usage for a billing period] I doubt it.. I agree w/Phil.... "Wake up"... Maybe give them a percentage break, like, 5% but charge nothing???? I don't think so..........Was this a "Jeff Garvik" solution or did someone put a bug in his ear on a golf course one day??????????
MEE

Hanover, PA

#2 May 26, 2011
Sure I will help to still pay for our multi million dollar sewer plant up-grade, when these people go to Florida for the winter.. But when they get home there water and sewer still are turned on. If you dont want to play the bill get the water turned off. Then pay to get it turned back on, when you return...
jack

Newville, PA

#3 May 26, 2011
why pay if your not using it. They got this right. its probably rare though.
Info

Shippensburg, PA

#4 May 26, 2011
Your kidding wrote:
This is splitting hairs..... Expenses go on and I for one think this is wrong... I understand where Jeff is coming from and it's nice of him to think of the home owner, but I'm not so sure this is really helping anybody... Does this really occur that often [no usage for a billing period] I doubt it.. I agree w/Phil.... "Wake up"... Maybe give them a percentage break, like, 5% but charge nothing???? I don't think so..........Was this a "Jeff Garvik" solution or did someone put a bug in his ear on a golf course one day??????????
One of the commissioners came up with this plan.
seenit

York, PA

#5 May 26, 2011
Impeach Heilman!
The man has shit for brains!
Watcher

Arlington, VA

#6 May 26, 2011
So even a 1 gallon usage will show up? And the homeowner will be charged the $53.00? Even when you're out of town the crapper still tops itself off? Usage is usage. Have it shut off and a fee to turn on the water. Problem solved.
Philadelphia

Hanover, PA

#7 May 26, 2011
The phila area and suburbs do it this way. You have a min bill to pay whether you use the water or not. Do I think its fair? NO not at all. I think of the Senior Citizens like my 90 yrold Gram who hardly used much water and never reaching the min but yet still got nailed with a bill. Its all about collecting the mighty dollar while fattening the wallet for some scum bag who laughs at the working man and retired people.
You have

Hanover, PA

#8 May 26, 2011
seenit wrote:
Impeach Heilman!
The man has **** for brains!
no clue, this man probably has more brains in his little finger the you have in your head.
Sad but true

Hanover, PA

#9 May 26, 2011
Stop and think about it.....what class of people can afford to go on vacation for three months? Only the wealthy. So they get a free ride while the working stiff picks up their share.

As far as I know any municipality in our area charges a minimum regardless if you use any water or not. Not only that, most sewer bills are rated according to water usage. So another free ride for the wealthy.
Not a wise decision

Reading, PA

#10 May 26, 2011
The sewer plant cannot shut down when a homeowner is absent and not using water. The debt on the sewer plant and infrastructure does not go away. This was an ill-informed decision. It might sound good at first glance, but it is not a wise decision.
Not a wise decision

Reading, PA

#11 May 26, 2011
jack wrote:
why pay if your not using it. They got this right. its probably rare though.
Why? Because the debt structure is based on hookups (EDUs). You might not understand, but those who do not pay the charge are actually getting away from debt payment for the system.
Not a wise decision

Reading, PA

#12 May 26, 2011
MEE wrote:
Sure I will help to still pay for our multi million dollar sewer plant up-grade, when these people go to Florida for the winter.. But when they get home there water and sewer still are turned on. If you dont want to play the bill get the water turned off. Then pay to get it turned back on, when you return...
Congratulations MEE. You completely understand the problem with the decision. I am guessing those who voted for this are not very bright.
Doesthis

Hanover, PA

#13 May 26, 2011
mean that we can apply this rule to ALL expenses? So, if I don't have kids in school, NO school taxes??! Fair is fair!

Can't wait to move out of Penn.
Know from experience

United States

#14 May 26, 2011
If I was going to build a water and sewer plant, I would figure out how much it would take to operate the facility if every household just paid the baseline minimum charge. That would provide ample revenue for operations. But not everyone uses the minimum amount, some use far more each quarter, but some will use less, like the senior citizens. In the end the operational revenue comes out equal to or greater than the baseline amount.

The commissioners have it right this time. Thank you for rewarding people that conserve the resources instead of punishing them.
Your kidding

Chambersburg, PA

#15 May 27, 2011
Philadelphia wrote:
The phila area and suburbs do it this way. You have a min bill to pay whether you use the water or not. Do I think its fair? NO not at all. I think of the Senior Citizens like my 90 yrold Gram who hardly used much water and never reaching the min but yet still got nailed with a bill. Its all about collecting the mighty dollar while fattening the wallet for some scum bag who laughs at the working man and retired people.
My senior citizen aunt in Mansfield Oh didn't pay water ..and that was way back in the 80's....I'd still go w/ percentage of cost OR Turn it off if you don't want a charge, but then face a "turn on fee" when you get home... if you can afford to go somewhere or not use it for a "pay period" you can afford to pay to turn it back on... end.....
Flawed

Reading, PA

#16 May 27, 2011
Know from experience wrote:
If I was going to build a water and sewer plant, I would figure out how much it would take to operate the facility if every household just paid the baseline minimum charge. That would provide ample revenue for operations. But not everyone uses the minimum amount, some use far more each quarter, but some will use less, like the senior citizens. In the end the operational revenue comes out equal to or greater than the baseline amount.
The commissioners have it right this time. Thank you for rewarding people that conserve the resources instead of punishing them.
Having been involved with water and sewer service governance for 20 years, and having been through many bond issues and several plant construction projects, I can tell you that your idea is not how it really works.

Part if the base rate of the service charge is almost always going to be debt service. It really never goes away. There is always some kind of bond issue or borrowing for a construction, expansion or maintenance project. That means you are servicing debt constantly. Under the PUC and PA Municipal Authorities Act, which regulate fee structures, you are not permitted to generate excessive revenue. Since you are pretty much forced into a borrowing model, there is always debt, which is, and rightly should be, spread over all beneficiaries of the system.

Hence, paying no bill means others pick up the missed debt portion of the service charge. That is flat wrong, and it should be alarming to residents that only one member stood up for what is actually correct. What influence did the other members fall under to make such a decision? Or, are they just that ignorant of how things really work?
Know from experience

United States

#17 May 27, 2011
Flawed wrote:
<quoted text>
Having been involved with water and sewer service governance for 20 years, and having been through many bond issues and several plant construction projects, I can tell you that your idea is not how it really works.
Part if the base rate of the service charge is almost always going to be debt service. It really never goes away. There is always some kind of bond issue or borrowing for a construction, expansion or maintenance project. That means you are servicing debt constantly. Under the PUC and PA Municipal Authorities Act, which regulate fee structures, you are not permitted to generate excessive revenue. Since you are pretty much forced into a borrowing model, there is always debt, which is, and rightly should be, spread over all beneficiaries of the system.
Hence, paying no bill means others pick up the missed debt portion of the service charge. That is flat wrong, and it should be alarming to residents that only one member stood up for what is actually correct. What influence did the other members fall under to make such a decision? Or, are they just that ignorant of how things really work?
Thank you for the clarification. I was saying that as a matter of common sense and logic, but I know a lot of that seems to get lost in government policies.
Tom Jenkins

Shippensburg, PA

#18 May 29, 2011
Flawed wrote:
<quoted text>
Having been involved with water and sewer service governance for 20 years, and having been through many bond issues and several plant construction projects, I can tell you that your idea is not how it really works.
Part if the base rate of the service charge is almost always going to be debt service. It really never goes away. There is always some kind of bond issue or borrowing for a construction, expansion or maintenance project. That means you are servicing debt constantly. Under the PUC and PA Municipal Authorities Act, which regulate fee structures, you are not permitted to generate excessive revenue. Since you are pretty much forced into a borrowing model, there is always debt, which is, and rightly should be, spread over all beneficiaries of the system.
Hence, paying no bill means others pick up the missed debt portion of the service charge. That is flat wrong, and it should be alarming to residents that only one member stood up for what is actually correct. What influence did the other members fall under to make such a decision? Or, are they just that ignorant of how things really work?
Most people just see themselves as "being screwed". They never look at it from the utility or service angle. The last time the water main broke under the street in front of your house or down the block, did you receive the repair bill? No. The cost is shared for maintenance of a utility system by the people who use the system, plus their usage. It occurs with electricity, gas and water. Power has to be transmitted and distributed, gas has to be pumped and distributed, and water has to be pumped and purified/sanitized. Facility maintenance and replacement are certainly not free. This whining is the reason that roads and bridges in this country are in the condition they are. Just TRY raising the gas tax, though, because it's ALWAYS someone ELSE'S responsibility to pay for infrastructure.

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