COUDERSPORT — The Coudersport Area Municipal Authority has a new rate structure in the works in an effort to make the billing fairer among residents and businesses.
Though the authority, which serves the Coudersport borough, Eulalia Township and Sweden Township, has been discussing it for quite some time, a final decision has yet to be made.
Currently, CAMA (sewer) bills based on water usage, Borough Manager Bev Morris said. Because neither Eulalia nor Sweden townships have water meters, they’re billed a flat rate. There are also still some legacy homes within the borough that have either private springs or wells. To add a sewage meter to each hook up wouldn’t be economically feasible.
If each apartment in a multiple dwelling unit had its own water meter, then each apartment would have its own bill. But a lot of multiple dwelling units were built with just one meter, Morris said. There are some bigger apartment buildings that have the option of being billed based on its water usage.
When the rate resolution was written, there weren’t as many apartments in single-family homes as there are now.
It’s a complicated issue, which is why the authority members are working to simplify it; they’re talking about switching it to an EDU (Equivalent Dwelling Unit) rate, in hopes it will be a fairer system for everyone.
“...That’s been part of the whole issue, is trying to make it fair and equitable for everybody, including us. I mean, we can’t afford to lose money, we have bills to pay, too and to maintain the system,” Bill Krog, chairman, said during Monday’s CAMA meeting.
In creating an EDU chart, the authority has several questions it needs to answer, like if it will view an apartment differently than a single-family home.
Engineer John Segursky, of Uni-Tec Engineers, said the authority’s rate resolution should create consistent billing across each class of customer.
“You don’t charge a pizza place differently than you charge a sandwich place, you have to charge the pizza place in the sandwich place the same. ...You can’t charge Sheetz one rate and Uni-Mart another rate, you have to have it based on the same thing,” he said.
He made the comparison of the Gospel Tabernacle apartments vs. the Majot Trailer Court; if it’s the same type of customer, both should be charged the same way. The board seemed to agree that trailers, houses and apartments could fall under the same classification.
Krog said he was OK with one EDU for an apartment.
“A residence is one EDU. I don’t care if an apartment has three bedrooms, or one bedroom or four people or 12 people living in it. An apartment is an apartment. We just draw the line there, it’s one EDU,” he said. Treasurer Paul Herzig agreed.
The board is studying an EDU chart that University Area Joint Authority (State College area) uses and will compare it to theirs. The board acknowledged some things on it won’t apply to CAMA’s area.
EDUs could be assigned to restaurants based on how many seats there are, to hospitals based on the number of beds and to office buildings based on the number of employees, just as an example based on UAJA’s EDU chart.
A work session to continue hammering out the EDU chart is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 13 at the sewer plant on Toles Hollow Road, Coudersport.