COLOMA — Earlier this year, Coloma Township raised its sewer rates, but apparently not everyone got the memo.

During a virtual meeting Wednesday night, the Coloma Township Board of Trustees learned that the township has been receiving a lot of complaints about the new rates since bills were sent out April 1.

“People are logging in to pay their bills online and they didn’t know it went up,” Clerk Sandy Kraemer said.

The rate increase, from $80.05 to $98 quarterly, was approved at the township’s February meeting. The increase was needed to fund maintenance and $2 million in improvements to the sewer plant.

Trustees determined it would be fair to waive late fees for residents over the next three cycles of billing, one quarter, to account for not getting the word out about the rate increase.

In the past, the township would only waive late fees on an individual basis, but the trustees agreed these are unusual circumstances with the coronavirus pandemic.

“No one would be able to come in to talk to us about it,” Trustee Jim Fulton said. “We’re not even able to answer the phones as well as we should be able to, or respond to people as well as we should.”

Fulton did note the township makes about $35,000 a year from sewer late fees, so waiving these fees for one quarter of billing will lose the township $8,750.

In other business, the township approved continuing to pay all of its employees their regular amounts during the coronavirus emergency, even if they’re not working.

The township board also approved its 2020-2021 budget.

The $12.6 million budget includes about $4.1 million in estimated revenues and $4.2 million in estimated expenditures, along with funds that will carry over from the last year.

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