COUDERSPORT — The Coudersport Area Municipal Authority adopted a new rate structure after months of discussion and different considerations during its meeting May 24.
The new rate structure is based on an EDU (Equivalent Dwelling Unit) rate, rather than based on water usage or a flat rate, and will go into effect July 2022.
The rate schedule shows a single family structure, like a home or a trailer, will be charged one EDU. A multi-family structure, like a duplex or an apartment, will be charged one EDU per unit.
Retail stores with 10 employees or less will be charged one EDU; each additional five employees will add .5 EDUs. The same goes for businesses or professional offices.
Hotels, motels, inns, cabins, boarding houses, and bed and breakfasts without kitchenettes will be charged one EDU per three rooms, with an additional .5 EDUs per unit with a kitchenette.
Restaurants, clubs or taverns with 10 employees or less will be charged one EDU, plus one EDU per 25 seats.
Churches will be charged one EDU. Schools and daycare centers will be charged based on how many students there are. The rate schedule shows 1.5 EDUs per 50 students.
Assisted living facilities with 10 employees or less will be charged one EDU, plus one EDU per 10 residents.
Of note, the Housing Authority’s Freeman House is defined, for the purpose of CAMA’s rate structure, as an apartment building. The meeting began with a nearly hour-long public comment, mostly between the CAMA board, its solicitor, and the Potter County Housing Authority and its solicitor.
The Freeman House, as an apartment building, would be charged one EDU per unit. Anne Leete, solicitor for the Housing Authority, argued the Freeman House would be better defined as a boarding house, which would be charged one EDU per three rooms, plus an additional .5 EDU per unit with a kitchenette.
Leete said the Housing Authority would be paying substantially more per gallon than other users and that there are other heavier users who are not facing such a substantial increase.
“We also don’t think that it is very ethical when our occupants in the Freeman House are limited by income, age and disability. A private landlord in an apartment building can rent a three bedroom apartment to a family of six. And that’s one EDU. That unit is going to consume dramatically more water than an 85 year old,” Leete said.
John Wright, executive director of the Housing Authority, said it would be hard to balance a budget with this sudden increase.
“You’re trying to do it all at once. And we can’t balance our budget when you do that,” Wright said. “...If you’re going to adjust it, at least do it over a period of time so we can adjust our budget to accommodate that.”
CAMA Solicitor George Stenhach said there would be a year memorandum. Wright said that was better than no notice.
Ultimately the board opted not to redefine the Freeman House but CAMA Chair Bill Krog acknowledged that this will be a working issue and will have to iron things out as they are presented to the board.
“We have had so many discussions ... trying to make this as fair and equitable as we can for everybody. There’s absolutely no way to make everything come together ... we’re going to have numerous people and we may have to make some adjustments to this thing. We can amend this,” Krog said.
For more information on the new rate structure, contact the borough at 814-274-9776.