Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mass. Masonic Home pays outstanding sewer bills

After a two year battle, the Masonic Home for senior citizens in Charlton, Mass., officially known as the Overlook Life Care Community, has paid the city over a quarter million dollars in back payments for sewage service. Additionally, they have agreed to pay an additional $1.88 million, plus interest, in betterment fees over the next 20 years.

The $253,155 payment covered disputed portions of sewer bills dating back to April 2003 and unpaid bills from July 2005 through the date of settlement, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette News reported.

The Masonic Home also paid nearly $6,000 in fines and fees for an oil discharge the city said came from the Overlook campus. The Home denied the discharge came from their facilities, but paid anyway "to reimburse the town to complete the settlement."

The Water and Sewer Commission and the Masonic Home had been in dispute over the volume of sewage discharge coming from the campus. The Home's quarterly bill has now been adjusted from $6,423 to $36,302.

"I am very happy with the outcome," David C. Turner, the Masonic Home's CEO, said in an interview.

The 450-acre mountaintop campus offers cottages and apartments to seniors age 62 and over. "A variety of community areas serve as an extension of your home, including several dining venues featuring chef-prepared meals, an extensive library, 280 seat performing arts center, hair salon, swimming pool, tennis court, athletic club, nature trails, ponds, gardening areas and more," according to the Masonic Home's website. Also provided are "a variety of dining rooms and cuisines, a library, an auditorium, woodworking shop, an indoor heated swimming pool, a spa and fitness center, and much more." A medical facility is also on campus, and home nursing care is offered.

Residency appears to be open to anyone 62 and over who can live independently and who can pay the entrance fee and monthly fees. Masonic membership or relatives do not seem to be a requirement.

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