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Why is my Pittsfield water and sewer bill suddenly so high?

PITTSFIELD — City residents who opened their most recent water and sewer bill were, well, shocked. 

"I got my water and sewer bill today. What?!" one southeast Pittsfield resident posted on the Nextdoor App. More than 100 commenters chimed in with similar sentiments. 

Copy of sewer and water bill

This is a Pittsfield water and sewer bill for a four bedroom home with two bathrooms. 

Pittsfield homeowners are footing the bill for what city officials call a “structural problem” in the funding of water and sewer services. In early March, City Council voted in a split 6-4 decision to raise rates for water and sewer services by 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively, this year and the next.

That means, for a typical two-bathroom home in Pittsfield without a water meter, the increase in rates will mean an additional $77.20 in water and sewer fees over last year’s bill, according to city calculations.

For the average metered home in Pittsfield — which consumes about 220 gallons per day — the rate changes will mean an additional $64.69 in water and sewer bills.

The vote was originally reported on by Eagle reporter Meg Britton-Mehlisch in March, but the rate hike seemed to hit many residents by surprise, causing many to take to social media to complain about the increase. 

Residents who call Pittsfield's Department of Public Works customer service line are met with a recorded voicemail, which includes this information: "Water and sewer rates have increased retroactive to January 2022." 

Lindsey Hollenbaugh can be reached at lhollenbaugh@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6621. 

Managing Editor of Content Engagement

Lindsey Hollenbaugh is the managing editor of content engagement for The Berkshire Eagle. A native of upstate New York, she has a journalism degree from Ithaca College. She lives in Pittsfield with her husband and son.

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