Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 28, 2013

Water charge criticized

Niagara Gazette — A business owner and several community leaders have called for the Niagara Falls Water Board to eliminate a fee the utility charges to property owners who use no water.

The board charges an "availability charge" to ratepayers who have their meters removed.

David Bieksza, who owns several buildings on 24th Street including a warehouse that uses no water or electricity, told water board members during a meeting Thursday that he was incensed when he saw the fee had doubled, from $30 each quarter to $60.

"I get a water bill for a building where not one drop of water is being used," Bieksza said.

Bieksza, who ran an auto service garage on 24th Street before retiring several years ago, said he feels it is unjust that he should have to pay $240 a year for a service that he does not use.

He, and other property owners, would be using the money being paid to the utility to improve their properties if not for the fee, Bieksza argued.

"You shouldn't do this to good, taxpaying people trying to keep their properties up," Bieksza said.

Roger Spuback, president of the Niagara Falls Block Club Council, also spoke to the board saying that to raise the rate so quickly was unfair.

"This seems like one is being financially punished for using no water whatsoever," Spurback said.

Spurback went on to say that rates in general have been climbing too quickly over the years.

"Higher rates will further impede people from settling in this community," Spurback said.

County Legislator Jason Zona, D-Niagara Falls, also spoke at the meeting, requesting that the board consider lessening or eliminating the fee.

"It's a small bone to throw to the ratepayers in this county," Zona said.

Paul Drof, the board's executive director, said the charge - which was first included in the 2007 budget and increased to $60 in the 2012 budget - is in place because, although the property owner is not using any water, the plant still processes water that comes off of the property and washes into the sewers.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results