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West York's effort to collect more than $500,000 in past due sewer bills has left some residents wondering how to pay off their debt.

Borough resident Patricia Baron said she received a notice in the mail earlier this month informing her she has until the start of May to make good on the $318 she owes in unpaid sewer bills or her water will be shut off.

Baron said she received no prior notice from the borough.

The problem for Baron is she relies on federal Supplemental Security Income to cover her living expenses, making money tight.

"This is the one utility there is no assistance for," she said.

Notices: The borough sent out 379 notices to residents who aren't up to date on their sewer bills, accounting for $519,000 in past due bills, said Lori Uhrich, a borough employee handling collections, adding some accounts are years past due.

There are an estimated 1,996 housing units in the borough, according to U.S. Census data. That means about one in five homes received notices and owe on average of $1,369.

The notices were sent to residents who owe more than $100 and are at least 45 days behind in paying, according to the notice, dated April 5, sent to Baron.

"West York Borough recently entered into a sewer shut off agreement with The York Water Company, through which York Water is authorized to post notices and, following proper posting procedures, terminate water service," the notice states.

If a resident hasn't paid up by May 1, a second notice stating the resident has 10 days to pay will be posted on his or her property and the resident will be hit with a $25 fee. Two additional notices with accompanying fees would be posted if the account isn't paid in full before the water service will be shut off, Uhrich said.

"This is our way of receiving money that is owed for services that have been provided," she said.

Discussion: The notices and delinquent accounts are expected to be discussed at the next council meeting on Monday.

It's not known how many residents with delinquent accounts have paid off their balances after receiving the first notice.

York Water is in the midst of buying West York's sewer system. Council members approved the $395,000 deal in December.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

Meeting

The West York Borough council is expected to discuss past due sewer bills at their meeting Monday.

What: West York council meeting

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Where: 1700 W. Philadelphia St. 

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