Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

Residents of the Pacific Terrace Manor recently received notice from Storz Management Company they will not be charged for water and sewer this month, the park will revert to multi-family rates and credit will be given to those overcharged.

The action follows the last Crescent City Council meeting where staff was directed to took into creating an ordinance against overcharging tenants for city services that are meant to be passed through.

Residents of the park approached city officials last week to say their rates had been increased to unaffordable levels starting back in October 2015.

Storz responded to all tenants with a letter Wednesday that was also shared with the Triplicate.

The letter, in its entirety, read:

“We are aware that some have disagreed with the recent change in water and sewer billing rates at Pacific Terrace Manor. The community operates and maintains its own water and sewer systems that connect to the City’s systems outside the property. The costs to operate and maintain these private systems are significant and in addition to the City’s costs of service to the edge of the property.

“The community has run its water and sewer systems at a significant loss for many years. The intent of charging the going single-family rate to these individual homeowners was not to profit, but rather simply to lose less. To be clear, this rate was what other homeowners in Crescent City pay for water and sewer services – not just to the edge of their property but to their home as well.

“Common sense and case law both support charging the single family rate to cover the costs of both the City’s services and the private utility services not otherwise maintained and operated by the City — which in this case include underground pipes, above ground infrastructure, and a costly lift station for discharging effluent up and out to the City’s point of connection.

“Nevertheless, the intent of the park owner was never to profit, and certainly not to make life more difficult for the residents or the City representatives. And with that in mind the charges for water and sewer service will immediately revert to the multi-family rate, and a credit issued to residents where credits may be due.

“Unfortunately, this change will mean that some residents — nearly a third by review of recent data — may pay more for water and sewer services at the multi-family rate. Our intent was not and is not to cause those folks financial distress either. Unfortunately there is no simple solution for all, but we ask for those who read about this matter to consider all perspectives, not just those used to malign fair intentions.”

Storz Manager Andy Carey said by phone Wednesday he plans to have discussions with Interim City Manager Mike Young. He said it’s hoped the letter will ”clear the air about the company’s intentions” since it was not presented at the city council meeting.

Young said he had not yet heard from Carey but unless he hears otherwise from the council, plans to draw up an ordinance continue.

Reach Tony Reed at treed@triplicate.com

18330290