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Hudson will add delinquent water and sewer bills to homeowners' property taxes

City Administrator Devin Willi announced Monday night that delinquent water, sewer and garbage bills not paid before Oct. 25 will be added to homeowners' 2003 property taxes.

A 10 percent penalty will be added to the bills to cover the administrative expense of the additional billing, he said.

While putting delinquent water and sewer bills on the tax roll isn't new, city officials apparently wanted to remind residents of the practice in light of a recent change in the method of billing for sewer service that could result in more delinquent bills than normal.

This year, the city began basing sewer charges on actual water usage year-round. Previously, sewer charges for the two summer quarters were based on average water use during the winter quarters in order to compensate for lawn watering during the summer.

The new billing method resulted in dramatically higher sewer charges for homeowners who did a lot of lawn watering. The difference was especially noticeable for homeowners who spend the winter elsewhere.

City officials have said the dry summer we experienced, resulting in increased levels of lawn watering, caused a bigger jump in sewer charges than would have occurred if there had been more rain.

Municipalities base sewer charges on water usage because it is easier to meter the amount of water a household uses than the amount of wastewater that goes into the sewer.

Some homeowners who do a lot of lawn watering say the billing method is unfair to them. They complain that they're being charged for water that doesn't go into the sewer.

City hall was flooded with complaint calls in August after homeowners received their water and sewer bills for the second quarter of the year. Some of the homeowners also expressed their displeasure with the billing change at the Aug. 18 and Sept. 2 City Council meetings.

A public notice from the city in next week's Star-Observer says the delinquent water, sewer and garbage bills will be levied against the parcel of property that received the services.

Landlords are advised to contact the City Clerk's office (386-4765) to find out if tenants have paid their bills.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066