The City Council voted 4-2 on Monday to approve a set of rate hikes for water and sewer services. The vote comes one week after the council’s Administration Committee .
The original item before the council sought to adjust the Water and Water Pollution Control Authority’s 2013 fiscal year budget to keep the rates level. However, the council voted in favor of the proposed increases after Council President Michael Passero amended the motion to reflect them.
Barry Weiner, chairman of the WWPCA, said the increases are necessary to maintain the system's infrastructure. He said rates will be retroactive to July 1, the start of the 2013 tax year.
“We know that our budget as it stands now is going to have about a $2 million shortfall without the additional revenue from these rates,” he said.
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Councilor Adam Sprecace agreed with increasing the rates, saying they have not reflected the costs of operating the system over the years. Councilor John Maynard questioned how the council could take up the question after the proposal was rejected by the Administration Committee, which he chairs.
Maynard and Councilor Marie Friess-McSparran, who opposed the rate increases at Monday’s meeting, also voted against sending it out of committee. Maynard previously said he felt the council and WWPCA had not received enough information on expenses and that the WWPCA funds have been illegally pooled with municipal funds.
Another item on Monday’s agenda sought to authorize the WWPCA to manage a request for proposals process for a forensic audit of the WWPCA. A vote to approve this failed 2-4 along the same lines as the vote on the rates.
The rates increase the charge for every 1,000 cubic feet of metered water service within city limits in a three month period from $17.71 to $19.48. The cost for this same service increases from $17.83 to $19.61 for metered connections outside the city limits. Sewer charges for New London and Waterford customers will go from $25 per 1,000 gallons to $31.25.
Other major changes include:
- Increasing the residential connection fee for structures not previously receiving water from the city from the product of residential units and $2,727 to the product of residential units and $3,049.
- Increasing the fee structure of non-residential connection buildings not previously receiving water from the city. These costs are based on the size of the meter and range from $3,409 for five-eighths of an inch (formerly $2,727) to $115,587 for 10 inches or more (formerly $92,469).
- The original connection fee for existing buildings was not less than $200 and not more than $350, although the fee would be the actual cost less $350 if the expense of providing the service was greater than $700. The revision states that the fee should not be less than $1,000 and not more than the actual cost of providing each connection.
- Increasing the charge for each public fire service connection in Waterford from $53.67 to $98.34.
- Increasing the fee for temporary use of water by contractors where the use of a meter is not practical from $24 to $300 for each day or portion of a day and from $84 to $1,500 for extended use each week.
- Increasing the reactivation expense paid by an offending party for water shutoff due to misrepresentation, misuse, or waste of water from two dollars to $100.
- Increasing the reactivation expense paid by an offending party for water shutoff due to nonpayment from $15 to $100.