PITTSFIELD -- Home and business owners can expect to see a 2.5 percent increase in their water and sewer bills to start the new year.
The City Council has unanimously endorsed Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi's plan to boost the annual flat fee for residences by more than $7 for the second consecutive fiscal year. The council on Tuesday night, without debate, also supported a request for home and business owners with meters to pay an 8-cent increase per 100 cubic feet of water used/waste discharged.
The new fees and rates take effect Oct.1, and will be reflected in the second quarter bills sent out in January, according to Pittsfield Public Utilities Commissioner Bruce I. Collingwood.
Despite the increase, Collingwood has said Pittsfield water and sewer rates remain among the lowest in the state.
Last August, the council approved a similar rate and fee hike -- the first in seven years. The increase initiated the city's five-year plan to gradually boost revenue to help pay for ongoing water and sewer projects, city officials said.
In fiscal 2013 alone, Pitt sfield has scheduled $5.9 million in municipal water system im provements and $7.9 million for the sewer system. A combination of user fees, low-interest state loans, funding from the city's capital budget and federal stimulus funds is paying for the much-needed work, city officials said.
The single biggest improvement in fiscal 2013 will be the $3.66 million project to replace the wastewater treatment plant's worn out pump and motor control center and its standby power system. Coll ingwood expects the work to be put out to bid this summer and completed a year from now. He has noted that failure of the control center could result in raw sewage being discharged into the Housatonic River.
However, beyond the five-year plan, he expects more significant rate hikes and state and federal funding may be necessary to fully fund all water and sewer projects in the works.
Inside the numbers
The Pittsfield City Council has approved a combined water/sewer rate increase of 2.5 percent for the second year in a row. The new rates will be reflected in the water/sewer bills that will be sent out in January.
Service Current Proposed Change
Annual flat fee (1 toilet) $296.20 $303.60 +$7.40
Each additional toilet $153.50 $157.34 +$3.84
Metered* $2.80 $2.88 +$0.08
* Per 100 cubic feet of waste water.