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Reader feels article on sewer needed clarification

While I certainly congratulate the county commissioners for holding a very preliminary public meeting on the inevitable project to sewer some 400 homes in the Devola community, I take issue with the lack of clarity in The Times’ article as to how the project will be funded. I did attend the meeting with 129 other residents who really wanted to know “what will it cost me?”

Commissioner Ron Feathers spoke about how each resident would be responsible privately for the one-time “hookup” to their house at a cost that will vary by property. The article failed to make clear that residents would be able to pay their share of the construction of the main lines with a $300 per year increase in real estate taxes. This amounts to about $25/month for 30 years.

The second thing that was not made clear in the article was that the Department of Job and Family Services director is seeking funding to assist low-income seniors or others who may have difficulty with the cost of paying to link their house to the county system. I applaud the JFS director for this effort and encourage any resident of Devola to contact Job and Family Services now so that you may receive information as it becomes available over the next year. The phone number is 740-373-5513.

A final question that I feel did not receive adequate explanation was the monthly rate that residents of Devola will pay after the project is complete. The anticipated rate for both current and future customers, regardless of the amount of water used or size of a household is $110 per month, plus the current water bill from Putnam Water. The increase represents an increase of over 60% for current users in Devola.

In the city of Marietta, the sewer charges are tied to water usage which seems to be more fair. Also, if Devola and, eventually, Oak Grove are part of the larger system is there not a savings due to increased number of customers?

Mr. Feathers’ explanation was that since there are independent water systems such as Putnam Water in Devola, there is “no way to build a rate based on the metered water usage.” Why not? Putnam Water meters the usage already for it’s own billing purposes. Collaboration for the benefit of the homeowners does seem like an idea that deserves exploration.

I would urge the public to continue to ask this question in the coming months as the monthly sewer charge is an issue that could be addressed over the next three years it will take to finish this project.

Teresa Porter

Marietta