Marion tightens water regulations

Jan 29, 2021

MARION — After a Main Street home was allowed to hook up a separate irrigation meter — exposing a flaw in Marion’s water regulations — the Marion Water and Sewer Commissioners tightened the rules at a Jan. 28 meeting. 

The flaw also brought to light other issues with some of the town’s water- and sewer-related fees. In some cases, Marion is charging 23 times less than the going rate for services. 

The tightened regulations prevent homes from setting up an irrigation meter — separate from the regular water meter — unless the property is used for agriculture. 

The old regulations allowed for such a connection, which wound up costing the town money. 

“Not only did we seem to permit it,” Commissioner and Selectman John Waterman said, “but we weren’t charging enough for the cost.” 

Notably, when the commission voted to change the rules, previous rates for water and sewer services were left alone. But the issue is likely to come up at a future meeting. 

“We don’t want to leave any dollar amount anywhere we’re going to lose money,” Waterman said. 

Marion was advised that it could charge up to $13.80 per gallon for the service. 

“When we become aware of a fee that’s too low, we want to be all over it,” Waterman said. 

But from now until April — when the next permits for water and sewer work will be given to residents — there’s time for the town to digest the rates surrounding towns charge for certain services before putting new fees in writing.

Still, Waterman said he’d like to solve the issue sooner rather than later, so residents aren’t caught off guard with new fees. 

“That’s why I want us to be on this,” Waterman said. “Because we’re going to be hooking people up in the spring and I don’t want to tell them after the fact.” 

Waterman and Commissioner and Selectman Randy Parker also agreed that rates for water and sewer services should be evaluated once a year moving forward.