Local officials have recently fielded a number of questions about the rise in water rates, and Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty offered explanations this week about the changes in billing.
Geraghty observed that the Warrensburg Water District has been falling behind in revenues for several years and the town board needed to make the District self-sufficient. Expenses exceeded revenues for several years and there was a need to rectify it with raised rates, he said.
The water rate increased 50 percent, but as a daily charge, it is still minimal compared to other towns with similar systems, he said.
Water usage in towns in the Capital region, he noted, can cost homeowners $300 to $500 per year.
A water bill for an average household increase from 28 cents per day to 42 cents per day for the single family residential user, more or less depending on the category.
Geraghty said town officials are actively seeking methods to improve water quality.
Such action will require money to pay for upgrades to the aging distribution and treatment systems. The upgrades will boost energy and operational efficiency and will achieve compliance with state regulations, he said. The requirements include a modest capital reserve fund for replacing equipment based on anticipated life cycle.
Operating and maintenance expenses include wages, chemical treatment and electricity to operate pumps. These expenses are increasing due to inflation, cost-of-living hikes and ever-higher maintenance costs for the town’s aging system.
Next year, the rate for a single family residential user is going to be $195 per year or 53.4 cents per day. This rate is now going to be called an EDU, or Equivalent Domestic Unit. This cost is based on studies conducted by the town’s engineering firm. They suggest between 250 to 300 gallons per day are used by a single family household.
The town has also adopted a single senior citizen rate of $48.75 per year for those age 62 or older.
Commercial properties will be charged a flat rate plus a usage rate on a quarterly basis. The town is now in the process of installing meters for all commercial properties. Owners of such properties should call the Town Clerk’s office and make an appointment to have a meter installed.
For details on the changes, call the Town Supervisor’s office at 623-9511.
Water users are asked to conserve water whenever possible to reduce the ongoing operating cost of the Water District.