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Unused water hookups in Millville may soon cost owners more

March 12th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Jen Stevenson

MILLVILLE–There are several water service hookups that are inactive, abandoned, or unused in Millville, and the City Council is considering adopting a new ordinance to deal with them.

Councilman Brian Jensen presented a draft of the ordinance to the council. When putting together the ordinance Jensen and Superintendent Gary Larsen looked at what other cities have done to see what would work best for Millville. A lot of the ordinance was taken from Lewiston’s ordinance and then rearranged to meet Millville’s needs.

The two things they are trying to accomplish with this ordinance are assessing subdivisions a fee for having the water available and trying to get the other unused hookups to “use ‘em or lose ‘em,” Jensen said.

The first issue is the subdivisions. Developers have purchased land for subdivisions, but with a slow economy right now many of those lots are not getting sold. That means there are water hookups in each of those lots that Millville city put in but are not getting any income from because the hookup is not being used.

The ordinance proposes that for each unused water service there will be a $100 per year charge, until that water service is activated. In one particular subdivision there are 46 unused water services that Millville is not getting any revenue from. If this ordinance was adopted, Millville could start collecting money from that water hookup before it is put into use

The other issue is hookups that have been abandoned or have not provided water for quite some time. The proposed ordinance says that any water service that provided more than 10,000 gallons of water during the previous year will be billed monthly during the current year. If the service uses less than 10,000 gallons, the city with turn off the water service.

The council liked the ordinance but felt it needed more consistency in the language being used throughout. It also needed clearer definitions of each situation such as unused, inactive, abandoned and so forth.

“I like the gist of it and what will be accomplished with the ordinance,” Mayor Mike Johnson said. “Just clarify some definitions, clear up the language, and it’s a great ordinance.”

Jensen and Larson are going to work together to finalize the ordinance. A final draft will be brought before the council at the next meeting, March 25, for a vote.


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