A few weeks ago we started to hear rumblings of a coming conflict between Conshohocken’s restaurants and the Conshohocken Sewer Authority. Restaurants were sent a letter and received calls from the sewer authority informing them that they owed the authority thousands of dollars. This is really an issue with all commercial properties, but the restaurants seem to be the most vocal and adversely impacted.
From our understanding of the situation the sewer authority has not assessed commercial properties for their sewer use in over 20 years. So if a restaurant opened and were deemed to be a 1 EDU (Equivalent Dwelling Units) 20 some years ago, they are now being told that they are a higher rating. The same is true for newer establishments. Each EDU point costs $5,600. The restaurants we have spoken with are facing bills ranging from approximately $15,000 to more than $50,000.
EDU or Equivalent Dwelling Units means that a commercial property is compared to how much water a regular home uses. If its a small business or doesn’t use much water it can be compared equally to a home (that makes the commercial property 1 EDU). If it uses more, a point or points are added.
Earlier today there was a meeting at Borough Hall with members of the sewer authority, borough staff, at least one member of Borough Council and representatives of the restaurants. NBC10’s Deanna Durante got wind of the meeting and tried to attend, but was asked to leave. See her tweet below:
Angry @ConshyBorough biz owners assemble to challenge what thy say are unfair and sky rocketing sewer bills @NBCPhiladelphia prevented from attending the meeting- #MontcoPA #moretocome pic.twitter.com/xDl9ojz3Pf
— Deanna Durante (@deannadurante) June 20, 2018
The presentation that was reviewed during the meeting can be viewed here.
The restaurants are not disputing that their businesses haven’t grown or increased water usage. The dispute is that the sewer authority didn’t conduct regular assessments. So instead of paying incrementally over the years, they are being hit with a big bill all at once. The sewer authority did offer a payment plan.
Note that MoreThanTheCurve.com did not receive a response to an email (sent May 30th) to the Conshohocken Sewer Authority asking for details on this issue. That isn’t unusual for a Felix Raimondo (D) led organization (he also leads the Colonial School Board).
Note that the Conshohocken Sewer Authority is an independent agency of the Borough, however, Borough Council appoints the board members. One person, Anita Barton (D), serves on both Borough Council and the sewer authority’s board.
More to come.