Proposal would keep Lyon late-payers from utility shut-offs
December 22, 2006
Dayton residents who fall behind on paying their water and sewer bills won’t have their services terminated under proposed utilities ordinances.
Instead, Lyon County Utilities Director Mike Workman told the Lyon County Commission Thursday that the county would recoup unpaid bills through the tax roles.
“One of the big drivers of this is employee safety,” he said. “They’re faced with angry customers, dogs have been turned on employees and sometimes the anger spills into the office.”
Workman also said that under the proposed ordinances property owners are clearly responsible for water and sewer bills, even if a tenant is supposed to pay.
He said that while owners can designate an agent, such as a tenant, to pay the bills, in the final analysis, the owner is responsible.
“We need owners to call us because our database doesn’t tell us who are renters and who is owner occupied,” he said.
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The ordinances also create a new water allocation table with a .45 acre-foot provision for multi-family and trailers in trailer parks. Workman said that recent studies show that these units actually only use .33 acre-feet per year, but the .45 acre-feet allowance will act as a buffer to prevent overuse.
He said .45 is more appropriate to cover multi-family units.
The previous provision was for .7 acre-feet per door for multi-family units and manufactured homes in parks, but no one ever came close to that level.
“When I looked at the consumptive use profiles, I couldn’t find any that overused,” he said. “They don’t even come close. Out of 150 units we looked at only one got close to a .4 acre-feet.”
The new ordinances also cover industrial wastewater discharges, Workman said, with requirements meeting state and federal standards.
On Jan. 18, a public hearing will be held on the subject of the water and sewer ordinances.
“This gives us better definition and some teeth if we have constant violations,” he said.
Workman said the ordinances cover only communities served by Lyon County Utilities, including Dayton, Mound House and the Crystal Clear area near Yerington.
Who to call
Owners with rental property should call Lyon County Utilities at (775) 246-6220.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.