Cumming residents forced to pay big sewage fee

Cumming homeowners upset over $6,000 water bill

CUMMING, GA - People in one Cumming neighborhood are being hit with a big fee, and now, they have only a few weeks to pay up.

The Habersham subdivision was ordered to pay $6,000 by July to hook up to the city of Cumming's sewer system. If they don't, the city says they shut off their water.

People there were shocked when they received a letter from the city. They said it came with no warning or background -- just the bill itself, along with the order to pay up.

The subdivision had been relying on a private water sewage system -- common in the 1970s in rural areas -- that broke down.  When theirs broke down, they realized they would have to tap into the city's system.

The city of Cumming agreed but said it would cost each household in the subdivision $6,225 to do so.

"At first, I thought it was a joke, because I knew there's a lot of scams that go on, especially over the phone," said homeowner Marisa Hill. "But when we looked online and saw there is an assessment of $6,200 to connect to the city of Cumming, we thought how can anyone expect that people have that kind of money laying around? There are 400 homeowners in Habersham. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can't afford this."

Aside from providing a copy of the letter to 11Alive News, the city refused to provide a comment on the assessment.

Attorney George Nowak says the city has every right to take the position they are taking.

"It appears to me that the city of Cumming has the right to do what they're doing," he said.

Nowack says the private water systems were popular in rural areas in the 1970s, but now that they are beginning to break down, a lot more people are going to be looking at big bills soon.

"This is going to be a problem that's affecting a lot more people as private water systems age," he said.

Nowack agrees with Hill that $6,200 seems steep, but the city did tell residents they are allowed to finance the bill, starting this month, and going on for the next five years.

"It's $100 a month on top of your water bill, plus interest," he said. "So you're getting a loan, an interest-free loan to flush the toilet in your own house, for 62 months."

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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