Water authority changes schedule of charges

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

At its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Sept. 20, the Greencastle Area, Franklin County, Water Authority (GAFCWA) adopted changes to its schedule of charges which adds additional penalties for customers who fail to make timely payments. Currently, the penalty for bills delinquent after 35 days is 10 percent of the initial charges and there is no subsequent penalty charged before water service is terminated for non-payment of bills, normally 62 days after the bill becomes delinquent.  As a result, many customers wait until just before shutoff to pay account balances.

The new schedule of charges reduces the penalties for bills delinquent after 35 days from 10 percent to 5 percent of the initial charges.  However, there will now be an additional penalty of 10 percent of the initial charges for bills delinquent over 49 days. When bills become 52 or more days delinquent, the GAFCWA will post a “Notice of Termination” at the property and an additional charge of $20 will be added to the bill to cover the cost of this posting.  The fee for reconnection after service has been terminated will be increased from $30 to $50.

Authority manager Ken Womack explained to authority members that the current schedule of charges provides absolutely no incentive for customers to pay bills after the initial delinquent period.  Womack noted that typically the authority posts “Notices of Termination” for over a hundred properties every billing cycle and ultimately less than ten properties per billing cycle have service disconnected.  The authority hopes adding the additional delinquent charge and charging customers for the costs of posting the property will significantly reduce the number of customers who wait until just before the shutoff date to pay account balances.  

The authority also authorized the authority manager to make exceptions to the rules and regulations on a case by case basis.  Womack noted that the intent behind this additional authority is to permit exceptions to be made before delinquent payments become due. “The authority always encourages customers who have difficulty making payments to contact us before the payments become due to establish a payment plan. Customers who do not contact the authority ahead of time, and who fail to make payments on time, can expect to pay the new penalties,” Womack noted.  

The new schedule of charges goes into effect for bills mailed after Dec. 1, 2010.  

For details, contact the borough office at 717-597-7143.