Wednesday, October 21, 2015

No Hike in Water or Sewer Rates for 2016

Probably the biggest news to come out of last night's borough authority meeting got the smallest mention.

In an hour-long meeting that included extensive talk of sludge dryer parts and other such fascinating items, the board quickly adopted a recommended budgets for the coming year.

And although both show a slight increase in spending over the current year for the water and sewer systems, it won't cost users any more than it already does.

The authority unanimously adopted the $6,183,000 water budget and recommended borough council approve the $9,081,000 sewer budget.

The sewer budget represents an increase of $497,000 over the current budget.

The water budget represents an increase of $70,000 over the current budget.

But news about a rate hike -- or lack thereof -- came only as an afterthought from Utilities Administrator Robert Plenderleith.

Borough Authority board members look over plans to allow

new construction at the Mrs. Smith's Pies site without moving
a major sewer line that runs through that property. 
"Oh, and there's no rate hike," he said after outlining the budget basics for both funds.

Finance Director Janice Lee explained that a rate hike is not necessary because some of the increase is covered by surplus, but most of the increase is just money being moved from the capital budget into the general fund to pay for the next year's slate of capital projects.

In other words, the authority is not really spending more money, it is spending money it has set aside for capital expenses.

So the residential water rate will remain at $35 base cost and $2.78 per 100 cubic feet.

And the sewer rate will remain a base cost of $76.25 and a usage rate of $2.63 per 100 cubic feet (based on water consumption).

2016 will be the fourth consecutive year without a water rate hike and, presuming council adopts the sewer budget, the third year without a sewer rate hike.

Other items of interest include an update on the water and sewer line projects which are tearing up parts of several borough streets and news of the Mrs. Smith's commercial project moving forward.

Here are the Tweets.

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