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Hobart adopts deduct meter policy

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – In an effort to make things easier to understand for residents, the Hobart village board adopted a new policy on water usage Jan. 15.

The village has moved away from a policy based on credits, percentages and averages, and now offers residents the ability to install a new deduct meter.

This is more accurate for reading and billing the amount of water that enters the sanitary sewer system, said Jerry Lancelle, director of public works.

“The old policy used averages that weren’t current, so we never really knew if the former summer credit policy was accurate,” Lancelle said. “The new system with the deduct meter will give us current information on actual water use.”

At the Jan. 15 village board meeting, Erica Berger, deputy clerk/treasurer, said only 15 percent of water users in Hobart knew about the former credit system, and of those, even fewer understood it.

“In my mind it was a never a very fair policy, and it’s so difficult for people to wrap their head around that old formula,” Lancelle said.

Residents who install deduct meters will save money on water used outside, because it will not be billed for entering the sanitary sewer system.

Without a deduct meter, all water used by a resident will be billed for sanitary sewer use.

There is a similar system used in Ashwaubenon and De Pere.

“It will give us more accurate information on our water usage, between sewered and non-sewered water,” Lancelle said.

With the new policy, the old credit system is now a thing of the past. If residents do not install a deduct meter, they will not be able to use the credit system.

However, residents who want to take advantage of the deduct meter will have to do a few things first.

Residents will have to alter the plumbing of their house, which Lancelle said could cost anywhere from $300 to $500, depending on the home.

Once that is done, they can contact the village, which will charge $50 to install the meter and inspect the plumbing work. The regular quarterly meter charge will still remain.

Lancelle said the village determined it will take approximately three years for the average resident, who uses lawn sprinklers on a regular basis, to recoup the cost.

The time could be even shorter if a resident has a pool that’s filled each year.

He said the policy is aimed at people who water their lawns heavily and/or have a pool and rely solely on the water system.

Hobart residents who have a well or get their outdoor water from a well have no need to update the system, because the deduct meter will not apply to them.

The new deduct meter also applies to any commercial businesses that would be interested, but Lancelle said they would need to use high volumes of water for it to make economical sense.

He also said the village board chose to enact this new policy now, so water customers have plenty of time to get the proper plumbing work completed and install the meter before the heavy usage of the summer.

“It pays off down the road, not only for the residents, but overall it’s better for the village and the water utility,” Lancelle said.

Residents will have to contact the village to complete a request form for the deduct meter.

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