North Adams to consider increase in water rates


NORTH ADAMS — For the second time in three years, city residents could see increases in their water and sewer bill.

In an effort to balance a proposed $39.5 million fiscal 2017 budget, Mayor Richard Alcombright has introduced a plan to council that would increase the water rate by 5 percent.

"I feel a modest increase helps us to close out our budget and allows us to continue to provide services at a high level," Alcombright said.

The proposal, which will be heard on Tuesday by the City Council, would increase the water rates for city residents from $3.85 per hundred cubic feet to $3.97. Residents of Williamstown that are hooked into the North Adams system would see rates rise from $7.32 to $7.53, while Clarksburg residents in the same situation would be subject to an increase from $6.63 to $6.82.

The city's sewer fee is calculated as half of a user's water bill, so the increase to water rates will also have an effect on sewer costs.

In 2014 the council approved, at the mayor's request, a 10 percent increase to the water rate. It was the first time the rate had been increased in more than three years, Alcombright argued at the time. That revenue package also raised the sewer fee from 42 percent to 50 percent of a user's water bill.

"I don't dance around," the fact that the city's ratepayers have unfortunately had to bear the burden of several difficult budget cycles in recent years, the mayor said. "I think it's just one of those things that we try to keep things as reasonable as we possibly can."

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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