Selectmen Extend Water Meter Deadline for Mobile Home Parks

June 12, 2015

 

by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

An extension has been granted for two mobile home parks that failed to meet a requirement implemented by selectmen to replace individual water meters by June 1.

Mobile Courts and Suburban Park were granted an extension until July 15, 45 days after the required deadline, to upgrade each manufactured home’s meter to an electronically read one, or be billed based on the park’s master meter.

“The mobile home park owner does not have the ability to back bill or charge back for water usage from a previous quarter,” said Town Manager Keith Hickey to selectmen.  “We’ll have to get the balance that haven’t connected or reconnected.”

Hickey said Suburban Park had 19 meters waiting to be converted out of 27 accounts where Mobile Courts had 87 accounts and only four left.

Attorney Thomas Morgan, representing Suburban Park, said the delay had been caused by finding a plumber to complete the project.

“Unlike mobile courts he doesn’t have any working staff he can assign to the job,” Morgan said about the park owner.  “It’s largely plumbing, rather than meter pit, that has to be converted.”

Morgan said it was a challenge to find another plumber to do the job and the only one agreeing to do the project wouldn’t guarantee a completion date until mid July.

“I have tried to get other plumbers, but I have found not every plumber wants to crawl under a manufactured home,” he said.  “We can’t get him to agree to a completion date earlier than July 15.”

Hickey said the town’s billing process would be affected if the conversion wasn’t completed by June 30, adding the parks’ bills may need to be delayed.

Selectman Stephen Campbell said he supported the extension but said he wanted the project to be completed by the end of June to alleviate billing problems.

“Everyone was given sufficient notice,” Campbell said.  “In business if you got a deadline and you have a problem meeting a deadline, you find other alternatives.”

Selectman Pat Hargreaves agreed with Campbell that the project should be completed within the month.  Hargreaves motioned to extend the deadline for the two parks until June 30.

Selectman Michael Lyons said the plumber would only guarantee the completion of the conversion by July 15 and that it would be sufficient.

“I’m good with July 15,” he said.  “Don’t come back with another one.”

Morgan said the park owner wasn’t originally aware of the required need as they met a previous requirement to install individual meters to each of the homes.  He added the readings could be recorded and submitted to the water department to meet the June deadline.

“I want the readings on June 30 in the water department, so they can send the bills out when they need to.  Period,” said Selectman Everett McBride.

Lyons proposed an amendment to the motion to extend the deadline to July 15.  The amendment passed with Campbell and Hargreaves in opposition.  The motion was also approved with the same vote.

Hickey said a bill will be sent to the park owner based on the master meter for any accounts not converted by the deadline.