Mayor Brian Arrigo presented a check to the residential water and sewer ratepayers for $2 million during Monday night’s City Council meeting. He then announced the new rates for the next fiscal year.
“This represents a 3.09 percent decrease in rate-payers bills and is the city’s first water rate reduction in 19 years,” Arrigo said.
For fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1, the residential water and sewer rate will be $15.99 per 100 cubic feet of use, down from $16.50 in FY18, and commercial payers will pay $25.99 per 100 cubic foot, up from $25.60 in FY 18.
Arrigo transferred $2 million from a $5 million surplus in the water and sewer account. This surplus was realized through recent infrastructure improvements and the replacement of 95 percent of the city’s water meters, Arrigo said.
“The additional $3 million will be reinvested into the system and help create a more sustainable, stable water rates,” he said.
“It’s great we’re finally getting a reduction in the water and sewer rates,” said Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky.
At the same time the city is taking out $11.2 million in loan orders for CDM Smith to do more work because of the consent decree order from the federal government, something Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch was not happy about. He has called for an audit of CDM Smith several times.
“The state auditor didn’t want to do it,” Patch said. “CDM Smith has oversight over the whole project. I would just like to know how much of this $11 million goes to CDM Smith. It’s been the same thing every year. It’s never been done right, it’s never been done right in other cities. I would just like a breakdown of where the $11 million is going. It’s a simple request, and I never get it.”