FY 2014 Budget Includes Increases In Water and Sewer Rates
Montuori presents Enterprise Fund budget proposals to Board of Selectmen.
Question: Will our water and sewer rates increase next year?
Answer: Last year, when Town Manager Richard Montuori announced water rates would not increase in Fiscal Year 2013, he warned residents not to expect a repeat in FY '14.
So it came as no surprise when, at Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting, Montuori announced a six percent increase in water rates, along with an eight percent increase in sewer rates in the FY '14 Budget that takes effect July 1.
The proposed new water rates look like this:
|Current Tier||Current Rate|
|0-35,000 gallons||$6.67 per 1,.000 gallons|
|35-70,000 gallons||$9.44 per 1,000|
|71-140,000 gallons||$12.30 per 1,000|
|140,000 - plus||$14.31 per 1,000|
|Proposed Tier||Proposed Rate|
|0-34,000 gallons||$7.07 per 1,.000 gallons|
|35-70,000 gallons||$10.01 per 1,.000
|71-140,000 gallons||$13.04 per 1,.000
|140,000 - plus||$15.17 per 1,.000
The average family of four that uses roughly 90,000 gallons of water per year, will see their bill jump $48.92. Tewksbury's average water bill, after the increase, is $862 a year. That puts Tewksbury well above the state average ($470) and the average of MWRA communities ($523).
The reason for the increase is largely two-fold. Montuori said there are repairs and upgrades needed at the water treatment plant that will cost around $1,275,000 and water usage, overall, has gone down, according to Montuori. He said the town will look to pay $675,000 of the costs associated wih the water treatment plant improvements out of the retained earnings account in the Water Enterprise Fund and borrow the other $600,000.
The reatained earnings account i ssimilar to a stabilization fund in the general budget and is used for one-time capital expenses.
The sewer rate proposal looks like this:
|Current Tier||Current Rate||Proposed Rate|
|0-35,000 gallons||$6.55 per 1,.000 gallons||$7.07 per 1,000 gallons|
|35-70,000 gallons||$8.43 per 1,000||$9.10 per 1,000|
|71-140,000 gallons||$11.53 per 1,000||$12.45 per 1,000|
|140,000 - plus||$13.49 per 1,000||$14.57 per 1,000|
Ongoing interest payments on the $100 million sewer expansion project is fueling the rate increase, as is decreased revenue from connection fees.
The average family of four, using putting 90,000 gallons of waste through the system each year will see their bill jump $60.20 per year to $816.98. That's just below the MWRA average ($823) but well above the state average ($638).
As part of his presentation to the board, Montuori also mapped out capital improvement projects that will need to be addressed in the water and sewer infrastructure over the next five years. Most of those projects will be able to be paid for through the retained earnings accounts for the Water Enterprise Fund and Sewer Enterprise Fund.
Montuori's complete presentation to the Board of Selectmen on water and sewer can be found attached to this story as a PDF file.