Official: Ordinance violated

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By David Giuliani

Recently, Las Vegas resident Robert Jones complained to the City Council about his sewer bill, saying he didn’t know where else to go.

Now he’s got an answer.

George DuFour, the city’s utilities director, told the council last week that the city had been violating its own ordinance in charging for sewer service.

At a previous meeting, Jones reported that he used only around 800 gallons of water in a month’s time recently, but was charged for a whopping 8,000 gallons of sewage.

That charge was based on the average monthly usage from November to February, which is how rates are based for the rest of the year. However, Jones moved into his current house after the four-month period, and he’s not sure why the previous occupant used so much water.

The thinking behind the city’s sewer rates is that much of residents’ water used in the summer — watering lawns, for instance — doesn’t go back into sewer pipes. So basing sewer rates on winter months is more reflective of actual use — or so the city has maintained before.

But DuFour, who started with the city last fall, said the ordinance actually requires that people who move in after the winter be charged gallon for gallon for their sewage until after the next November-through-February period.