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Howe owes $300,000 for sewage bill, state law says Sherman can’t cut them off

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 10:30 PM CDT
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GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas (KXII) - The City of Howe said they owe the City of Sherman $300,000 after not paying their sewage bill for 15 months. But according to state law, Sherman can’t do anything about it.

“We have the highest water and sewer rates in the whole county, people here know that. And part of that is, unfortunately, to pay the sewer bill for the city of Sherman,” said Howe City Administrator Joe Shephard.

Shephard said those rates only go up every time it rains. That’s because in Howe, the rainwater goes into the same pipe as all the sewage, and all of that goes to Sherman to be treated. The City of Howe pays on the amount going through the pipe.

”So we’re billed per gallon, that runs through this meter,” Shephard said. “So when it doesn’t rain, our normal bill is about 30 thousand dollars- but when we get big rain, it could go up to $80, $90 to $100, and that is what puts us behind.”

Right now, they’re about fifteen months behind and owe the City of Sherman $300,000.

According to state law, Sherman can’t cut off Howe, or any other city for failing to pay.

”We’re required to treat all that, and therefore it’s costing us money,” said Sherman City Councilman Josh Stevenson. “While we understand that it’s not necessarily all sewage, the agreement that we have is that they are going to pay per gallon, for whatever comes through that pipeline, and that’s what we expect them to do.”

Shephard said people who live in Howe are still paying their bills, but the city just can’t come up with the money to pay Sherman.

”I don’t see any immediate plans within the next several years to build our own plant. Obviously, if we had the money to build our own plant, then we’d have the money to pay Sherman’s.” Shephard said.

Stevenson said the cities are meeting to work out a deal.

”Especially in the economic climate that we’re in today- there’s a lot we could do for Sherman residents with that $300,000,” Stevenson said.

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