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Board to consider homeowner’s sewer bill protest

Engineer denied access for inspection

February 17, 2014
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board on Wednesday considered three sewer bill protests, including one from a man who denied sewer officials access to his home.

Larry Marcais of 55 North East Ave., Johnstown, appeared in person at the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility to state his case. The situation involved an outside tap left running and a higher than normal sewer bill.

Sewer officials last month said the property owner denied Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick access to his property so he could investigate.

Marcais told the board Wednesday he sent a letter to the sewer plant noting his bill was "enormously higher" than normal. He claimed the excess usage went into the ground and was not processed by the sewer plant. He said after the outside water spout was turned off, the situation went back to normal. He said the problem didn't require Masick to inspect the inside of his home, but the engineer disagreed.

"I have to check out the full premises," Masick said.

In this case, he said he wasn't able to do a full inspection, including Marcais' plumbing.

Board member Kevin Jones told the property owner the sewer plant has to follow standard protocol. He said if the engineer can't look at the plumbing and the house, he can't make a determination.

"It's a right of privacy," Marcais said.

He added that he lived through the 1960s and a government body has no right to invade a citizen's privacy.

"I don't think it's the intent of this board to invade anyone's privacy," said acting board Chairman Richard Handy.

He told Marcais the board would get back to him with its decision.

In other sewer bill protests:

Fiscal Officer Donna Renda noted a protest from 28 North St., Gloversville. She said Masick inspected the cause of excess usage and it turned out to be a faulty hot water tank. There was a section of dirt where water leaked, but the water didn't come to the sewer plant. The board granted the homeowner a $377.24 credit.

A protest at 105 N. Arlington Ave., Gloversville, was denied. Renda said a letter was sent requesting the sewer plant inspect the property and there was no correspondence or contact from the homeowner.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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