General sewer cleanout questions

Hi,
Today, for the second time in about 1-1/2 years, I had a problem with drains backing up (flush toilet, tub and sink gurgle, water backs up into tub). The sewer guy was full of advice, but I thought I'd get some input from some of you more experienced homeowners.
He says he had to run an extremely long amount of cable (180 feet) to reach the clog, so it must have been "across the street somewhere." Thus, my first question: In your experience, does the village likely have any responsibility for dealing with this? Or is it on me to keep it cleaned out? (He says I will have to pay extra because of his having to use a lot of cable, the logic of which is somewhat lost on me, but I guess that's a different story.)
Secondly, he said I need to install a ground-level cleanout. Is this really necessary, or is it a matter of convenience for whatever unlucky sewer guy gets sent out? (I consider his advice a little suspect because we started this project with him saying he would have to charge me extra to remove and replace the toilet because I didn't have a ladder long enough to reach the roof vent. After some questioning on my part, it developed that he was supposed to have a ladder with him, didn't, and wanted me to pay the extra so he wouldn't have to go back to the shop and fetch a ladder.)
Nevertheless, I see the logic of a ground-level cleanout, although it sounds like an expensive proposition. Anyway, my final question: If I have a ground-level cleanout installed, am I likely to be able to deal with this problem myself in the future, without calling someone else to roto-root any stoppages?
Thanks in advance for all advice, opinions, general rants about sewer service....
Jo Ann
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

9 to 2 odds you've got a ground-level clean-out. The problem is finding it.
If it's not obvious, it's buried somewhere (unless your house was built before indoor plumbing).
Plumbers with all the gear can snake a do-dad down the line, then search your yard with an electronic gizmo to discover the path of the sewer line. Obviously, the clean-out access plug is somewhere along the path.
Once you find the plug, it is, most often, a do-it-yourself (25-curse-word (out of a possible 100) level) job to clean the line.
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Actually, my house WAS built before indoor plumbing. Thanks for the advice on finding the possible clean-out. If there isn't one, would you recommend installing one? Or is it satisfactory/cost-effective to keep going through the roof stack?
Jo Ann
HeyBub wrote:

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wrote:

There really ought to be a cleanout. Is your house on a slab, or is there a basement? If there's a basement, there should be a place where the main drain leaves through the floor or the wall. It *should* be a relatively painless job to stick a "Y" there with a cleanout plug.
--goedjn
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Crawl space. Sewer guy stuck his head in the trapdoor and immediately discarded any intention of going in there. Not sure if it's because he didn't see the right thing or he just didn't feel like crawling around in it, but I suspect the latter. He clearly was disappointed to find the job was going to be as much work as it was. He griped about the whole project before, during, and after. Even while I was writing my check, he continued to complain about how much work it had been.
Jo Ann
Goedjn wrote:

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