TewksburyPatch readers have proven to be anything but shrinking violets when it comes to expressing their feelings on key issues facing the town. And there hasn't been an issue that has generated more feelings than the huge increases in water/sewer bills this year.
Residents have seen increases of as much as 300-500 percent due to the increase in rates and an increased usage recorded by new water meters being installed throughout the community. Town officials have stated that the old meters were, in many cases, under-recording usage and that the new readings are accurate.
Below is a sampling of some of the reader comments we've received regarding the increase in rates.
Well the water bill came with the new rates applied. I know it was a hot summer and I used more water than the previous year but now I don't know about keeping my lawn green and topping off my pool. Over $1056.00 for (5) months water usage!! I converted my usage to cubic feet and compared it to what Billerica, with their new rates, would be - $401.00. Easily less than half. Why is our water so much more expensive. Forget the sewerage use. I could not afford to be connected to our sewerage system. Apparently the citizens voted for these "improvements" so we have to live with the costs. To somewhat alleviate the problem of the high bills could Tewksbury go to a quarterly billing system so the payments would be spread out more? (4) lower payments without penalties rather than (2) with possibly late charges.-- Tony D
The new water bill arrived. I think these people are taking drugs! I received a 5 month water bill and it was $5,000. I am having a hard time getting over this. Basically, it is costing me $300.00 a week for water. This is insane. It's pretty bad when you pay more for water than your grocery bill a week. For some, this is higher than a mortgage payment a month. Then they brace you to let you be aware that the next bill will be even higher. Does the town realize that the economy is not in very good shape? Most people working in this town are blue collar workers...... where are they supposed to find the extra money to pay for these charges? I have never seen or heard of anything so absurd in my life. Let's get real here huh! -- Marge M
It is insane. The Selectmen are overly concerned about protecting the rights of the taxpayers who voted for the sewer project based on the incorrect information presented at that time. The $3000 betterment fee was insufficient to cover the project and all the assumptions in the plan were flawed. Rather than go back to the taxpayers and admit mistakes were made and try to find an equitable solution and move forward, they are raking taxpayers already on sewer over the coals. Seems like they have neighborhoods or votes to protect. They are not accustomed to hearing from many of us because we usually just dig deeper and pay whatever outrageous bills they mail to us. Well, not anymore. -- DMF
I live in a single family home with just my husband. We dont have a pool or irrigation. I got a water/sewer bill for $2,038.00 dollars. The highest bill i ever got living here for the past 3 years was $450.00 dollars. These rates are outrageous! I've been telling friends not to move here and if these rates continue to climb im moving out of here. I havent paid my bill and refuse to. I have been in contact with Brian Gilbert and I request that all of you do the same. Dont let them stick it to us! -- Jennifer
I have lived in this town for over 11 years, my water/sewer bill started at around $160 for water usage during the spring and summer months. It has gone up each year topping off at $438 last year. The funny thing is I have a new meter, 3 bathrooms, 2 kitchens and 2 washing machines and my water bill only went up $60 dollars. Someone tell me what is wrong is the town picking and choosing who gets high bills this time around, then come the fall/winter water/sewer bill the ones who didn't get high bills will get slammed. Everyone needs to take a stand once and for all and not pay their water/sewer bill. They think the answer to the question is to spread the payments out over time. Are you kidding me? Between the taxes, water and sewer and the mortgage you tell me how to do that. The fact remains something is bogus here and we need to get to the bottom of it. This town is falling apart and if it wasn't for having my children in the school system and not wanting to move them away from their lives and friends I would sell my house. But then again who the heck would want to buy it with these rates? -- Andrea
Is it just me or do these comments seem totally (insert expletive here) crazy?
""We had a major drop-off in water usage, from over 725 million (gallons) in Fiscal Year 2009 to 661 million in Fiscal Year 2010," said Montuori. "As a result, revenues were $800,000 less than the budget projections.""
In this "Go Green, Global Warming, conserve everything" time we live in how can you project budgets this way. Did someone see "Water Futures" on the stock market? ... to me is this some sort of "Scratch Ticket / Lottery playing" Mentality projecting capital income on such an unknown.
""The drop-off can be blamed on a rainy summer that year, he said. Similarly, there was a $700,000 shortfall in projected revenues from sewer usage in FY '10.""
Okay...Now They're blaming it half on Mother Nature.
As far as the sewer claim...tring to be nice here...they're the ones full of it. Here again basing town capital income on how much we poop! -- Nitor Nemo