WEST MIDDLESEX – Beset by high sewer bills, the owner of a borough business is seeking relief from municipal officials.
James Mims, owner of the Dairy Queen, is asking council members for help with a sewer bill for services he said the business didn’t use.
At the borough council meeting last month, Mims produced his business’ monthly sewer bills from last year.
Early in 2019, his monthly bill was $394, he said. But the amount steadily rose to the point where it hit well over $1,000.
Eventually, Mims said, he discovered the problem was a major leak in his water system.
“There was all kinds of water in my parking lot,’’ he said.
The water problem carried a double whammy. Not only was Mims on the hook with Aqua Pennsylvania, which supplies water to borough residents and businesses, but it also had an impact on Dairy Queen’s sewer bills.
As is common with sewer utilities, West Middlesex bases its billing on the amount of water a home or business uses in a month. Most of the water pumped into a borough household is eventually piped to the sewer plant before being treated and discharged back into the surface water systems.
But because of the leak in his pipe, Mims said most of the excess water never entered West Middlesex’s sewer system. Instead, it wound up in the ground under Dairy Queen’s parking lot.
Mims requested that the borough apply a $2,870 credit to his bill. The sum, he said, is far less than what he deserves because the figure is based on double the amount of water he typically used before the leak.
“I think this is very fair and reasonable,’’ Mims told council members. “I don’t think this is asking too much.’’
The West Middlesex Dairy Queen, 3498 Sharon Road, is closed during a renovation project. Mims said during the meeting that he has invested $750,000 in the shop.
Mims said he paid his water bill in full because his water line, not Aqua Pennsylvania’s, that broke.
“I have no choice, I have to pay for that water,’’ he said.
Also, Mims said he was continuing his commitment to the town by investing more dollars in his business.
“It’s undergoing a complete remodeling,’’ he said of the Dairy Queen shop.
Council tabled his request to gather more information before its February meetings. The panel will hold its voting meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 18.
After the meeting, Councilman Ron Preston didn’t make a commitment on how he or council would respond to Mims’ request.
“But he does have a point,’’ Preston said.