Marlinton Mayor’s Corner

Hot is on the left, cold is on the right, and sewer runs downhill.

Nothing is as simple as it may seem. Anyone at the August Marlinton Town Council meeting can attest to citizens’ concerns of that evening. Those concerns were not unlike most other meetings. Typically, council hears one group concerned about the current cost of services, as we all should be. Then, there are the other groups that want more services and more results, all of which tend to increase costs.

Reasonable argument was made about the town charging for services when not in normal use. I went home from the town council meeting wondering what the town could do, and/or how to answer these very legitimate sewer charge questions. Particularly, with regard to residential home owners, when they are out of town for long periods of time and what about when an independently metered single apartment, inside a multi-unit complex, is unoccupied.

Obviously, I am a utility customer, too. I understand the customers’ position.

The Mayor’s seat makes you look at things on the utility side differently.

What brought us to this point?

Simply put, there is a cost to doing business – even town business. There is a cost to providing a service – even a town service. My car payment would be the same if I drove 50 miles a year or 50 thousand miles a year.

My mortgage payment would remain the same whether I lived in town or not. I am not saying I like the logic, but, you know it’s the truth.

On the utility side, a property’s sewer bill is not only for the immediate service today. Every user’s payment for service is directed to the continuance of a working system for all users, all the time. A charge to each property that depends on the system, provides for a functioning system, in the moment or within the first moments when you return home.

Think about it.

We each pay a part for providing infrastructure for those special moments!

We do turn water off for customers, but, the sewer is different. Sewer system operational costs continue, even when residents are away. Because, someone is always away.

In these days of equal access and fairness for all, does it not stand to reason that each resident (or owner as the case may be), should have to pay equally to maintain services and see that the service remains in working order for use when you are at home.

Be thankful you can get away and not have to worry about the town’s sewer treatment operation.

In closing, if the town deviates from the current policy, we give others justification for seeking a waiver. They could conclude: if no charges are applied when individuals are out of town three months, what about those who are out of town three days? Their charges could be prorated in a similar fashion and the town would have another issue to deal with.

This is why the Public Service Commission says, “if you charge one – you must charge all.”

Also, hydrant flushing caused water discoloration in the downtown area the first of week. It should have cleared again by the time you read this.

Hydrant repairs are in process.

Nighttime leak listening has identified no serious leaks.

One last note: I am sorry some residents take issue with Shut-off Notices. Please understand they come out automatically when a bill becomes past-due.

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