BPU Approves District Heat, Solid Waste Budgets

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities approved the 2022 solid waste and district heating budgets with no rate increases during its monthly meeting Monday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

There will be no rate increase in 2022 for Jamestown Board of Public Utilities solid waste and district heating customers.

The BPU this week approved next year’s spending plan for two of the five utility divisions. The board also heard a presentation on the draft budgets for the water and wastewater divisions.

Kelly Hawkins, BPU finance and customer accounts manager, said the wastewater budget might include a 3% rate increase for 2022, which might be followed up by another hike in 2024. She said gross income this year is under budget. She said the division is projected to have $30,000 in gross income by the end of the year, with the 2021 budget estimating profits of $105,000.

David Leathers, BPU general manager, said the last two rate increases in the wastewater division were in 2009 and 2017. He said the division overall has been stable for many years.

Hawkins said the water division is performing better than expected. She said the division is projected to have a gross income of $324,000 by the end of the year, with the 2021 budget only estimating profits of $252,000. Currently, Hawkins said there is no rate increase in the preliminary water budget for next year. However, she said rates might increase by 3% in 2023.

The board is slated to vote on the final wastewater and water budgets at its next meeting Monday, Nov. 22.

In other BPU business:

¯ The board approved an agreement with Monofrax to continue its flex rate program on a month-to-month basis for at least the next six months. According to the resolution, the BPU only approved a month-to-month agreement because the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an uncertain economy, multiple supply chain interruptions and shipping issues that are impacting Monofrax. These factors have caused Monofrax to be unable to meet some of the criteria in the flex rate agreement, which includes exports outside of Chautauqua County, jobs per kilowatt of demand, capital commitment and load factor.

¯ During the public comment portion of the meeting, David Walter addressed the board about the possible solar farm project along Manchester Road. Walter said several residents in the area are against the potential project. He said the BPU should not be looking at constructing a solar farm project in a Single-Family (R-1) Residential District. He added that some residents have already contacted attorneys about trying to stop the project. Walter asked the BPU to keep the public informed about the project and that he would be willing to communicate any information from the BPU to the residents about the potential project.

In May, the BPU approved two resolutions to purchase three property lots off Manchester Road in the city. One of the approved resolutions was to purchase a 1-acre and a 4-acre lot for the combined price of $10,500. The other resolution was to purchase 17 acres of land for $40,000.

Leathers said, at the time, the purchase of the land is the first step in a possible solar project in the city. He said the purchase of land is always the first step in such a process.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.60/week.

Subscribe Today