- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Freeport Borough is considering adopting a stricter system for dealing with sewage treatment customers who are behind on their bills.

Since rejoining council about a year ago, Councilman Ron Gallagher has been working to collect what’s owed to the borough, which operates its own sewage treatment plant.

He said the borough currently has about 61 delinquent sewage customers, amounting to about $4,000 owed.

The current procedure is to send out a 10-day shutoff notice, then a 48-hour notice if the customer doesn’t pay.

The borough has shut off a few customers, but most have paid, Gallagher said.

The problem is that the borough doesn’t have a way to track or deal with those who consistently fall behind.

One strategy they discussed is to require landlords to register with the borough so that the borough knows who they are and can hold the property owners responsible for paying the sewage bill if their tenants don’t.

Gallagher suggested the borough adopt a requirement similar to the Buffalo Township municipal authority, which provides the borough’s water. The authority tracks residents with delinquent bills and won’t turn on water service for them at another location until they pay the past due amount.

The authority provides one shutoff notice before terminating service.

Gallagher noted that the cost of sending out multiple shutoff notices is beginning to add up.

“If you have deadbeats at $50 (a month), what are you going to have when it goes up again?” Gallagher said. “You need to nip it in the bud now.”

Council plans to further discuss the issue in hopes of adopting an ordinance in the near future.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or [email protected]

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(c)2015 The Valley News-Dispatch (Tarentum, Pa.)

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