Black Mountain Sewer seeking 58 percent rate increase

By Curtis Riggs | April 15, 2009

Still haven’t paid rebates due Carefree Estates
CAREFREE – While residents of the Carefree Estates subdivision are happy they don’t have to endure sewer smells after an antiquated lift station was removed, they are not happy Black Mountain Sewer Company officials appear to be getting away with not paying them rebates on sewer connection fees, which was ordered by the Arizona Corporation Commission. They are also miffed at Carefree officials for not coming through with the help, which was promised to them.

ACC officials ordered Black Mountain Sewer Company to repay $833,000 in sewer connection fees to Carefree customers, which amounted to $412 per sewer hookup. The problem for the 33 Carefree Estates homeowners is Black Mountain Sewer paid a single $412 rebate to the Carefree Estates Homeowner’s Association instead of paying rebates to all of the homeowners.

Carefree Estates homeowner Melody Wetmore said Carefree officials have been little help in getting more of the money paid back to the residents even though they promised to do so as long as a year and a half ago. With Black Mountain Sewer Company seeking a 58 percent rate increase the residents see this as the perfect time to let both the ACC and Carefree know the sewer company never made good on what was ordered in the first place.

While Wetmore admits the Carefree Estates HOA board “dropped the ball” on getting all of the money rebated to the homeowners there has been no response to the numerous letters and phone calls about the problem.

ACC hearings on the proposed rate increase are scheduled to begin Sept. 21. Residential sewer rates are proposed to increase from $45.64 to $71.08.

Town Councilman Bob Coady calls it “outrageous” Black Mountain Sewer is seeking another rate increase while not paying Carefree Estates homeowners what is due them in the first place.

“It’s unfair. These people deserve a refund like every other homeowner who has paid these fees over the years,” he said.