Roxbury preps for new water billing system

By Geoff Samuels
The Roxbury Town Board met on Monday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Roxbury Town Hall. The main topic of discussion was the installation of new “radio head” water meters and the adoption of a new water billing system.

Brendon Becker, of Lamont Engineering, headed the discussion and began by stating that the town had received a grant from the Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP) covering 90 percent of the cost of the new water metering system.

The new meters, which incorporate a built-in radio transmitter, can be read directly from a service truck without having to go to the meter, thereby streamlining the meter-reading operation.

Utilizing flat fee
Previously, residents of the Hamlet of Roxbury were billed a flat monthly rate of $7 per month. Becker said he had done an assessment of water usage and had come up with a figure of about 3,500 gallons per month per residential household, and that 4,000 gallons should be covered by that same $7 when the new billing system begins this January.

The discussion then turned to the fact that some residents use water far in excess of 3,500 gallons per month either because they do things like water their gardens, or they have leaky pipes or toilets that they don’t realize should be fixed.

The board expressed concern that some residents will be “shocked” when they get the first bill that’s based on their actual water usage. It was proposed that “dummy bills” reflecting May through August usage be sent out to acclimatize residents as to what their actual bills will be when they start receiving them this January.

It was generally agreed that some sort of notice should be sent to residents if their water usage seemed unusually high, but no firm decision was made. Also open for further discussion is the handling of residents who want to turn off their water during the winter, and whether billing should be done on a monthly or quarterly basis. Stay tuned.