Pittsfield approves water, sewer rate hike for fiscal 2017


PITTSFIELD >> Water and sewer rates in the city will increase — 2 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively — beginning July 1.

The rate hike was among a number of measures approved by the City Council on Tuesday during its final session of the fiscal year.

Councilors also referred to committee a request to adopt the state Community Preservation Act provisions, accepted two grants to the city, and began the legislative process to allow access to a restricted city stabilization fund mandated by the state during a fiscal crisis 15 years ago.

According to paperwork submitted to the council by Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood, fiscal 2017 rates per 100 cubic feet of metered water will rise from $1.32 to $1.35, and the sewer rate for 100 cubic feet of water used will rise from $1.79 to $1.91.

The water service rate for unmetered buildings was set at $185.44 per year with one toilet, and $92.78 for each additional toilet. The unmetered sewer rate was set at $161.04 per year for one toilet, and $86.65 for each additional toilet.

The minimum charge per quarter for water and sewer will remain $7 for each.

The rate for filling a swimming pool was set at $84.38, and the cost for backflow prevention testing will be $65.

Also Tuesday, the council referred to its Ordinance and Rules Committee a petition from a group of citizens to have Pittsfield adopt provisions of the Community Preservation Act. The act allows a small surcharge on property tax bills to be used toward a range of projects, such as to preserve historic structures, improve parks or protect open space, and it provides matching funding through a state trust fund derived from a statewide fee on real estate transactions.

The proposal suggests setting the local surcharge at 1 percent while exempting the first $100,000 in property assessed value from consideration, and allowing other exemptions.

The council on Tuesday also authorized Mayor Linda M. Tyer to request special legislation to amend Chapter 28 of the Act of 2001, An Act Relative To Financial Conditions In the City of Pittsfield.

The purpose of the city's request is to free the city from restrictions governing the use of the reserve fund established by the act after the state stepped in during the financial difficulties.

If released by special legislation, the approximately $1.6 million in the fund will be added to the city's stabilization fund total.

The council also officially accepted a $50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission toward repair work planned at the Springside House in Springside Park, and a $1,045 gift from First Baptist Church to support the Pittsfield Police Department Explorers Program.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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