East Providence City Council gives first approval to potential water/sewer abatement changes


EAST PROVIDENCE — Residents who potentially have abatement claims caused by faulty pipes will likely now have a formal means of getting them heard if a resolution to update an existing ordinance receives final approval.

At its meeting Tuesday night, Sept. 3, the East Providence City Council gave an initial nod to the proposed amendments to Chapter 17 of ordinances on "Utilities" prepared by Public Works Director Steve Coutu. The Council passed the first reading by a 5-0 vote.

The discussed changes deal mostly with residents who have claims based on issues they've had due to damage of unseen pipes, whether they be underground or encased in concrete.

The amendments read, "Upon written request of the property owner, a one time adjustment of an excessive sewer consumption charge may be approved by the Claims Committee with a review and recommendation by the Director of Public Works, if the request meets all of the following conditions:

(1)  The property has not received a previous abatement for sewer consumption charges within the past 10 years, regardless of property ownership.

(2)  The excessive consumption must exceed the prior year same period consumption at the property by thirty-three (33) percent.

(3)  Excessive use cannot be caused by change in use, i.e., added living units or conversion from residential to commercial.

(4)  The adjustment to the sewer consumption charge will be computed in accordance with the following formula: Total billed consumption, minus prior year same period consumption, equals excessive consumption. Excessive consumption divided by two (2), plus normal consumption, equals the total adjusted consumption upon which the adjusted sewer consumption charge will be calculated. The calculation will be made using the sewer charges in effect for the billing period in question.

(5)  The adjusted amount will be deducted from the amount owed if the bill is unpaid or credited to the account if the bill has been paid.  There will be no adjustment of interest charges unless the written request had been received prior to the due date of the bill."

Mr. Coutu, in concert with City Manager Peter Graczykowski, told the Council that while there would be a potential budgetary impact for implementing the program, past indicators suggest it would be minimal. A review of claims that could have been made over the last 10 months revealed they would have come at a cost to the city of approximately $4,000.


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