The Waterford Soccer Club and the Waterford Utility Commission settled an four-year outstanding debt Tuesday for far below the original total of $7,444.07.
The Waterford Soccer Club has not paid its sewer bill since 2008 because it has disputed the cost of the bill. After some research, the utility commission realized there were some errors with the bill, and agreed on a total far below the $7,444.07 it originally requested.
The actual amount was not yet calculated, but it was based off of a reduced amount the soccer clubs owes, plus interest, instead of the original amount with interest. The utility commission agreed to a lower cost after they mistakenly undercharged the soccer club in one area and overcharged them in another.
“Yes there was an error made, there should be an adjustment,” Utility Commission Assistant Director Jim Bartelli said.
The amount was not calculated at the meeting, but Soccer Club President Gregg Swanson said he would pay whatever the bill is.
In 2006, the Waterford Soccer Club installed a sprinkler system at Spera Field. In 2008, the Waterford Utility Commission began charging partially based on consumption, instead of just a flat fee depending on the size of the water meter.
However, there is still a charge for the size of the meter. The utility commission, since 2008, was charging the soccer club for a 5/8-inch meter, a $45 per quarter charge, instead of what they actually had, an 1 ½-inch meter, which costs $262 per quarter.
The wrong information was given to Waterford from New London, Utility Commission Chief Engineer Neftali Soto said. In the last two billing cycles, the problem has been fixed and the $262 charge has been assessed, he said.
Secondly, the charge since 2008 was based off of consumption, and the utility commission charges based on the amount of water an entity uses. They assume that all water is eventually going down a sewer, which is true in most buildings.
However, the soccer club had a sprinkler system that is responsible for most of the water usage, and none of that water was going down the sewer. Therefore they were being charged for far more consumption than they were actually using.
The soccer club and the utility commission have been working this out, although interest was still being assessed on the bill. The interest is 1.5 percent per month, or 18 percent per year, as mandated by state statute.
“Even though it is a town property, we still charge the same interest,” Bartelli said. “The law says we have to treat everybody the same.”
Since, the Waterford Soccer Club has installed a second meter on the building at Spera Field, so the utility commission can measure just the amount of water being used in the sewer.
The utility commission agreed Tuesday to charge the club just on the amount of water it used in the building in the past four years, which is very minimal. That number is easily found because the commission can just look at consumption before the sprinkler system was installed, Bartelli said.
Secondly, since it was the utility commission’s mistake, the commission will just charge the $45 per quarter amount on a 5/8-oince meter in the previous bills, even though the club should have been paying $262 per quarter for a 1 ½-inch meter, Soto said. The utility commission found out about the 1 ½-inch meter two quarters ago, so the club will pay the full amount for the last two quarters, Soto said.
Interest will be charged only on those bills, Soto said. That is a much lower total than the $7,444.07 charge that had the full cost of the meter and consumption and interest, Soto said.
“We will make this whole,” Swanson said. “We just want to get it right.”