Water Question - Used to be Direct Billed, Now City Master Meter

Town got annoyed 6 years ago, installed master meter and forced owner to deal with individual billing (park was already submetered). Billing structure in this town is below. I just discovered that the town has been hitting the current owner with the base fee for each individual trailer/submeter, even though they have only been reading the master meter over the last 6 years. Is this normal? Shouldn’t I be able to contest this? I would think the current owner might even have a claim against the town?

Water- $9.00/Month Base Fee Plus $8.75/1000 gallons
Sewer- $10.00/Month Base Fee Plus $5.25/1000 gallons
Bulk Water- $25.00/Connection plus $8.75/1000 gallons

The city cant have it both ways. They either have one customer (the park) or each home as a customer. They shouldnt bill per every connection since and then not read the meters. However cities are usually not rate regulated by the utility commision or whatever your state calls it. I would request a copy of the cities rate sheet and see what their policy is. The bottom line is the have to have a uniform policy and rate structure. I think they are being lazy and dont want to read the meters. The normal way is to charge a base rate for commercial customers based on meter size then so much per gallon / cubic ft.

Get their rate sheet then hold their feet to the fire.


Thanks very much. I spoke to the city clerk. She continued to argue her case but at the end of the day it will go in front of council. I asked her one question - is there anyone else in town that pays base fees and does not receive a direct bill from the city - the answer was no. The one thing that works in their favor is the fact that the town owns and maintains a significant amount of the water/sewer infrastructure in the park. Hopefully can arrive at some middle ground worst case. I told them that the residents of the park would be the beneficiaries of any savings at the end of the day given these costs will be passed through. We shall see. Going to put a letter together.

You might want to consider doing nothing. You pass all these costs along to the tenants anyway right, and if the city maintains most of the lines that will save you tons of money if you ever have to replace the water or sewer lines.

Why is this not a better option?

If you risk removing the base charges you also risk assuming ownership / maintenance for those lines. I would argue that the city should allow direct billing to the tenants, and not fight the base charges.

If the city owns the water and sewer lines in the park this is even a stranger arrangement. Who is responsible to repair and maintain their lines??? Sounds like a mess. Make sure you figure it out and get it writting what pipes they own. Dont piss them off until you get that sorted out.

I agree that you should definitely pass the cost through to the residents.


A little worried about the passthrough because I think it would be off market for the area. I’m waiting on the actual drawings from the town but they own the mains and I own the service lines from what I can tell. The roads are also public and most of the piping runs beneath. Also, one of the 5 councilmembers lives in the park…

I was going to write a very nice letter saying how much money I’m spending bringing in new homes etc which will potentially add 6 new households to this town of 1k and be a win-win for all parties involved.

The owner has never spent a dime on maintenance of lines or sewer jetting in 15 years he’s owned.

There was originally a flat w/s fee for each home, then town installed meters, and then decided on master meter installation in 2010.

Sounds like a great set up with city on the hook for water sewer lines and roads could get your expense ratio down real low


I would check your state regulations with an attorney if you feel the off market item is a big deal. If these tenants had their own meter this is what they would be paying anyway, so it seems odd to me that it would be any higher for someone with a mobile home on their own land direct billed and the entire city is getting ripped off - class action lawsuit?).

I agree it would be nice to eliminate it, but this is the cost of the city providing that maintenance and ownership of the lines. What a great deal.

Sorry, when I said off market, I meant all in monthly payment to tenant including lot rent.

You might just have a delay for a month between when the city bills you versus sending the all-in bill to tenants so you can time it correctly and have it reflect the city’s charging structure.