Carroll OKs Hike For Water Rates

FREWSBURG — Carroll town residents were given the chance to ask questions about upcoming water rate increases before they were finalized with a unanimous vote from four board members at the end of Wednesday’s town board meeting.

A public hearing was held to discuss possible water rate changes. The increases, which will be used to cover the replacement of two old, run-down water tanks, will go into effect May 1. Both residents inside and outside the water district will see increases per month in 2019, as well as subsequent increases in 2020 and 2021.

The current rates for water district residents and those outside water district lines are $30 per 6,000 gallons of water and $60 per 6,000 gallons of water respectively. For water district residents, every additional 1,000 gallons costs $4; the additional cost for every extra 1,000 gallons for all other residents is $9.

After a public hearing, the water rates for 2019, starting May 1, were increased to $40 for 5,000 gallons as the minimum bill for water district residents and $70 for 5,000 gallons as the minimum payment for those living outside the district.

Water district residents will pay an additional $5 per 1,000 gallons extra, and others will pay an additional $10 per 1,000 gallons extra.

Raising the minimum bill by $10 will bring in approximately $8,000 per quarter. Projected water rate increases continue until 2021, with each minimum bill increasing by another $10 next year and in 2021. This means that 2021 water rates will be $60 per 5,000 gallons for water district residents with an additional $6 charge for each extra 1,000 gallons, and that same year’s rate for residents outside of the district will be $90 per 5,000 gallons with an additional $11 charge for each extra 1,000 gallons used.

Water Supervisor Daniel Sisson said that the primary reason for these water rate increases is the renovations needed for the two current water tanks. The costs to repaint and repair them are steep enough for Sisson to decide that replacing the water tanks will not be much more costly and will be more beneficial in the long run. The tanks were originally installed in 1948 and 1973.

Sisson explained further that grant funding isn’t available to the extent needed. He said the town was more lucky to come across grant funding for the water department in earlier years and that their currently low water rates usually don’t encourage the government to award grant money. Future increases, Sisson said, will put Carroll residents in the mid-range for water rates.

Engineers for the replacement of the water tanks will be sought, and that project is specifically expected to begin next year. Increased water rates will help pay for water services, maintenance, water valve replacement, commutation upgrades, pressure problems on Warren Road, well upgrades and the tank project. The increases in rates will also lower the water tax.

Sisson also explained the reasoning to lower the minimum payments for 6,000 gallons of water to 5,000 gallons. After researching other water departments, he said the lower amount more accurately reflects the payment needed for water services. He said the change of minimum payment for less water will affect 47 town residents who use between 5,000 and 6,000 gallons of water.