PEI

Alberton reaches settlement with mayor over his unpaid $42K sewer bill

Alberton Mayor David Gordon has had his $42,280 outstanding sewer bill reduced to $8,035 after reaching a settlement with the town.  

Mediator says 'neither party entirely blameless'

Mayor David Gordon previously argued he shouldn't have pay his sewer bill because he did not use the service. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Alberton Mayor David Gordon has had his $42,280 outstanding sewer bill reduced to $8,035 after reaching a settlement with the town. 

Gordon will pay $3,035 for the sewer rate charges for the period 2001-2019 as well as an overdue account penalty of $5,000, according to a public notice posted on the town's website.

"I'm happy to have it behind us," Gordon said.

The town council voted to ratify the settlement, on behalf of Alberton Sewage Collection and Treatment Corporation, during a special council meeting Oct. 3.

The terms were reached with the help of a mediator, Frank Gillan.

Gordon was elected mayor of Alberton on Nov. 5, 2018. Last June, he revealed he hadn't paid his sewer bill in years, which had risen to more than $42,000 with compounding interest. The report by the mediator said the outstanding bill went back to 2001.

'Miscommunication, misunderstanding'

Gordon had argued he shouldn't have to pay for the sewer service because he has his own septic system.

"I felt that if I'm not hooked up to something, I shouldn't be made to pay it," he told CBC News in June.

In his report, Gillan called the dispute "a perfect storm of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and missed opportunity, with neither party entirely blameless."

"We were sending out statements. We were sending out yearly bills. But we didn't really send anything out explaining why the amount was rising so much," said Deputy Mayor Blair Duggan. 

The town and Gordon reached an agreement after one day of mediation and a series of offers and counter-offers, according to the mediation report.

Gordon said he would have resolved the matter more quickly if he "had more information on it."

"If there was a letter sent to me or a lien on my property, I would've dealt with it right there and then." 

Gordon must pay the $3,035 by Oct. 12. He has to pay the $5,000 penalty in five equal instalments, ending on Sept. 30, 2020. He told CBC News he's already started paying back some of the money.

The mediator also recommended the town put procedures in place related to overdue accounts, to ensure a situation like this never happens again.

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