2010-08-12 / Letters

Schoen Explains Sewer Payments

To The Editor:

Everyone should get on the sewer. It’s as good as an infected bicuspid.

Without having yet discussed this at a Dublin Township meeting, I do hesitate to write this letter without first speaking to the current board of supervisors in person; however, they chose to report things to the “News” in last week’s paper without talking to me, so I definitely feel more open to reciprocate to them here in the “News.”

I have at this point phoned Mr. Croft’s home and let a message requesting time for discussion at the next township meeting, but no return call yet. I have also received no answer to my first letter to the township ... but I did read in the “News” that one’s coming.

A little background: For years now, I have paid every bill through my bank’s Bill Payer service, which at this point I think every bank offers and many people use. Bill Payer is certainly not a “special” or “extraordinary” payment method at all. For us, Bill Payer is our primary tool for all bills because of tax preparation. Using Bill Payer, all the bills paid all year long download onto a spreadsheet so exact records can be given the tax preparer for those expenditures that apply for taxes; no mistakes ever.

When the sewer bills started to roll, I set up, for accuracy’s sake, two accounts to pay the bill. The township charges Melanie and me for two EDUs; one EDU for the salon, and one EDU for the house. At first this was $57.75 per EDU per month, or $115.50. (Now it’s $60 per EDU or $120 per month or approximately $3.95 per day)

While my bank’s Bill Payer payments are accepted by ... well, everyone, there were immediately two separate “problems/ objections” as far as Dublin sewer is concerned. They are as follows: These two payments (the sum of two bank checks, paid at exactly the same time and equaling the total) were considered partial payments, and subsequently refused.

And, since the checks came from the bank directly (equivalent to certified funds) they did not have the official township provided “payment coupon” with them; even though the checks list clearly on each check exactly the same information as is listed on the coupon.

Believe it or not, because of this, payments were actually refused and returned by the sewer bank to my bank.

Not wanting to make late payments, I then redirected Bill Payer to send payments not to the bank, but directly to the sewer’s HQ. That is when I suppose Mrs. House took them to the bank. I guess she did it in an effort to simply get the township paid. I never asked her to do it.

Then, out of the blue, after years of paying the bill to Sewer HQ, Dublin sends me a certified letter saying payments to Sewer HQ are a no go and “I have to pay my bill like everybody else.” Payments directed to Sewer HQ would no longer be accepted.

Perplexed, I immediately responded to their mail by mail (not certified), reminding them of the original payment issues and for a new resolution. Then I read that “stuff” in last week’s “News.”

The insinuation that my payments were “often late” is really what got my dander up. I have logged on and printed out every payment made to the sewer since Jan. 1, 2008. (I can go back longer with a couple clicks of the mouse.) You see, because I use Bill Payer, these records are dead-on accurate, and easily obtainable in minutes from the bank on the Internet (just another great example of the value of the bill payer Service). Reviewing these records, the bank made all payments, since Jan. 1, 2008, between the 28th of the billing month to the 1st-2nd of the next month, depending on weekends and holiday. What’s better is, nowhere, anywhere, on any correspondence that I have ever received from Sewer HQ is a “due date” listed on anything. There is no due date printed on the aforementioned, ultimately important, “sewer coupon” or “coupon book.” In fact, there is no due date of any kind written or noted anywhere. But they did report to the News that mine have been late!

For the record, I have not paid my July 2010 sewer bills because I am not sure how to do it, and am awaiting direction incorporating Bill Payer; and the Lord knows I want to! I also know I would currently rather being doing almost anything than writing this letter; but I do feel it’s now been made necessary.

The Bill Payer payments (the certified-like funds) are accepted everywhere else on the planet. In fact, I just called the bank and asked a manger about it. She said the return of a payment was “highly irregular,” and “I can’t remember one ever coming back for an active account,” and “Why would anyone ever return one?”

The township “News” article referenced the supervisors being weary of personal vendettas. I am thinking that one applies to me, and is a part of the way they conduct business. Yes, I do hate the sewer. Yes, I think the giant plant they built was way overkill; sold by some educated, slick-talking engineers to some supervisors who got them first, and then the entire township “put together,” and a slave to this giant thing we can’t afford forever. Yes, I hated it when my perfectly functioning onlot system (that I paid thousands of dollars for) was crushed at my household’s expense. Yes, I think $120 per month/ $1,440 per year is a boat load of money. Yes, I have been outspoken about this. But I do love my town and my neighbors and raising my kids in Fulton County. This is my home. Living here, I am very fortunate to still be gainfully employed and feel very fortunate to currently have the ability to budget the heavy monthly sewer demands. I must do this or I fear Sewer HQ is poised for the first sign of trouble and will foreclose and evict me from the house I bought and paid for too.

I just want to pay my sewer bill every time, every month without being unjustifiably forced to jump through a bunch of hoops. Doesn’t $1,440 a year get me any service? I want the local representation to be, well, representative. Or simply enter into the 21st century and wrap their minds around online banking.

Maybe if I go paint someone’s house, or patch their driveway, I could earn sewer credit, or if I give a “generous contribution” they may be more inclined to accept my checks. I’m feeling like it depends more on popularity, which I’m assuredly pretty short on. But this can’t possibly be about personal vendettas; I read about that in the News, too, and the township says it doesn’t operate that way.

Damon Schoen

Fort Littleton

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