ESSEX - Essex town officials had decided they would use water usage to determine how much to charge residents when the first round of billing came out for the new wastewater sewer system.
But what if the meters are not working?
The town board discussed options concerning what to do during its Jan. 13 meeting, after hearing that 30 percent of the new water meters were not yet in place and concerns over if the meters would work properly.
"The ones that are not done are where lines have been drained because the people are gone for the winter," said town employee Emett "John" Coonrod. "I have some houses where the meters are now are on the kitchen floor so you have to go in and get permission to replace them."
Coonrod also said he was concerned that some of the new meters may not have been installed properly, and may not work until they are fixed.
Town supervisor Sharon Boisen said with the new meters not an option to help look at water usage and calculate a sewer bill, the town would need to come up with a flat rate in order to start paying off a loan used to help build the system.
"We will have to do something because we have a loan that we have to pay back starting in June," Boisen said. "It will have to be a flat rate bill because we are not going to be able to read all of the meters because they are not all working."
"How can we bill them for something when we are not providing them with any service yet," questioned town councilman James LaForrest.
"When a district is formed, the billing does sometimes begin before the service until the system can start to pay for itself," said Boisen. "We are still looking into some things, but we think that this is the way we can go."