Executive - Press Release

Posted on: December 31, 2013

Agreement Reached on Under-charged Sewer Bills

Wilmington, Delaware: New Castle County Executive Thomas P. Gordon and New Castle County Council announce they have reached an agreement regarding the collection of under-charged portions of 2013 County sewer service bills. The County Executive and County Council are confident that the designed path forward is in the best interest of the residents of New Castle County.

New Castle County's residential sewer billing, per New Castle County Code, is based upon the two lowest quarters of water usage over a prior 12-month period. The County receives quarterly usage figures from water companies and uses these figures when calculating sewer bills. As a result of one vendor, Artesian water, switching to monthly usage data, the quarterly water usage figures became skewed by the County system and the County inadvertently over-charged and under-charged some sewer customers. Those customers who were over-charged are receiving a credit on their 2014 sewer bill, but the intent initially was to forgive the under-charged amounts, in accordance with longstanding past practice.

The Administration was concerned that the associated collection costs would exceed the potential incremental revenue, particularly for households with balances of only a few dollars or cents. The compromise will allow for the collection of under billed balances in excess of $11.05, which will reduce the amount of affected households by half while still allowing the County to recover 85% of the $210,000 of the total under billed amount.

"We are happy to work with our partners on County Council towards solutions that are in the best interest of our constituents. This compromise alleviates the concerns raised by both branches of government and creates an equitable path forward," stated Thomas P. Gordon, New Castle County Executive. "We are hopeful that this compromise will help foster a new spirit of cooperation and compromise with our friends in the legislative branch," said CAO David Grimaldi, who brokered the deal with County Council.

"Council feels it is important to maintain equity and fairness when it comes to setting sewer rates in New Castle County. I am confident that the solution reached with the County Executive regarding this issue ensures all residential sewer service users pay their fair share and prevents the sewer fund from being subsidized by other revenue sources. I appreciate the County Executive's willingness to work with Council to develop a resolution that ensures a fiscally responsible outcome."-Janet T. Kilpatrick, New Castle County Councilperson, Third District

Under-charged amounts due to the County will be placed as a debit on the 2014 sewer bills to be mailed out January 24, 2014. In doing so, the County avoids the necessity for a separate mailing to collect these fees, which saves the County in printing and postage costs, as well as employee man-hours. Sewer customers who have questions regarding their sewer bills may call the Office of Finance at (302) 323-2600Call: (302) 323-2600.

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