Gilford gives up on sewer advisory committee for lack of volunteers

GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to discontinue the Sewer Advisory Committee after only one person expressed an interest in serving.
Selectmen earlier this year established the Sewer Advisory Committee to look into the way sewer bills are calculated for multi-family associations and mobile home parks. The mission was to report back to selectmen by the end of this year so any possible changes could be presented to voters at annual town meeting.
Selectmen formed the committee early this year after Mark Corry — the president of the Gilford Meadows Condo Association — challenged a quarterly bill sent to his association that was markedly higher than previous bills.
After looking into the query, selectmen and Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan learned that many of the association's previous bills usage rates had been estimated and not actually read. They were much lower than they should have been and the one big bill was a "catch-up" invoice.
The bills were not marked as "estimates" but both sides agreed that while the way the billing and reading had been done was wrong and should not have occurred, the actual sewer usage over a four-year period was accurate.
Morgan has since fixed the meter reading procedure.
The same issue came to selectmen again last night when a single property owner challenged his 2012 second quarter reading. In their previous meeting, selectmen had voted to abate a portion of his 2012 bill but Wayne Swanson didn't want to accept it and last night he challenged the accuracy of usage portion of his bill.
Morgan said he would verify the accuracy of Swanton's meter and, by mutual agreement, the abated bill was tabled until the next meeting.
In the Gilford Meadows case, after learning its usage was correct the association turned its eye toward the fixed rate portion of the bill and objected when it learned each unit in the condominium community was paying a fixed rate when there was really only one meter.
Corry argued that the association has only one meter and should pay only one administrative charge — not 40.