Water rates unchanged, sewer rates to rise slightlyBy Mike Berger
Canton town officials delivered some good news about water and sewer rates on Tuesday, with selectmen approving a slight increase in sewer costs and no changes to the existing water rates in the upcoming fiscal year.
The sewer rate will go up 2.33 percent, or $6.29 per quarter for the average Canton sewer user, which is based on usage of 2,300 cubic feet of water. The new billing takes effect July 1, and the July bill will be based on the consumption measured for April, May and June.
Doug Gardner, president of Pioneer Consulting Group, the town’s water consultant, along with members of the Water/Sewer Rate Study Committee, including DPW Superintendent Mike Trotta, Finance Director Jim Murgia, and Finance Committee member Dave Emhardt, made their recommendations to selectmen Tuesday night. Selectmen then voted to approve the recommendation, having been warned that any delay could have resulted in further sewer rate increases.
Gardner said the cause of the sewer rate increase is based primarily on a Mass. Water Resources Authority (MWRA) assessment to the town of 2.8 percent or $95,526. Secondary factors included increased sewer debt service ($82,507) and an increase of $200,000 for sewer reserves.
Selectman Avril Elkort, who recently attended an MWRA meeting, said that in two to three years, the MWRA will hit all participating communities hard with an undetermined but more substantial sewer assessment in an effort to pay off debt.
In Canton’s case, the addition of two new water treatment plants is expected to greatly reduce its water assessment within the next two years, which would soften the impact of future sewer rate increases.
As an interesting statistic, Gardner calculated the cost of a gallon of water in Canton and determined that the current cost is $1.09, while the cost of one gallon of sewerage is $1.15.
Meanwhile, the Water/Sewer Study committee is still in need of residents to serve on the panel. Those who are interested should contact the selectmen’s office at Town Hall.
In other news Tuesday night:
* Selectmen said they would support an action at town meeting allowing the Council on Aging to use a past appropriation of capital money toward the possible purchase and renovation of the K of C building at 500 Pleasant Street or another property for use as a new senior center.
* Selectmen announced that the Little League parade will begin at noon on Saturday, April 28, at Canton High School and travel to the Kennedy School.
* Elkort announced that the “Blessing of the Bikes” (motorcycles) will be held Saturday afternoon at St. James Lutheran Church, with a barbecue to follow.
* Selectman Victor Del Vecchio, although away in Arizona, participated in Tuesday’s meeting, including casting votes, through the assistance of computer technology.
* Selectmen will meet on Monday, April 30, at 6:45 p.m. prior to the start of the first session of town meeting. If town meeting goes to a second session on Wednesday, May 3, selectmen will meet at 6:30 p.m. that evening. Regardless of how long town meeting takes, selectmen’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, May 22, at 7 p.m.
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