Bulk water rates hiked
POTTSTOWN » By unanimous vote July 18, the Pottstown Borough Authority raised water rates — again — sort of — OK, not really.
What the board really did was formalize with a resolution something that was approved with a simple motion in May.
When the authority board last met on May 16, it voted unanimously to approve a 9.7 percent increase to the water usage rate and a 17 percent increase to the base rate all residential users pay no matter how much water they use.
That works out to a 14 percent increase overall, or about $35 more per year for the average user. That hasn’t changed. So why, one might reasonably ask, did they vote on raising water rates again at the July 18 meeting? The answer is because they had to raise the bulk rates by resolution in the same way they had raised the base and usage rates.
According to the minutes of
the May 16 meeting, the authority board unanimously adopted “Resolution 1-2017,” raising the base and usage rates.
But the minutes also show that what didn’t happen was a resolution for also raising the bulk rates charged for water.
“The legal requirement was that it should have been done as a resolution — last month it was done as a simple motion and vote,” Authority Manager Mark Flanders wrote July 19 in response to an email seeking an explanation. “The vote last evening was to ratify the resolution formalizing the (bulk) rate hike.”
The vote July 18 officially approved a 10 percent increase to bulk water rates, from $3.60 per 1,000 gallons to $3.96 per 1,000 gallons, a change that affects North Coventry public water users, who buy water in bulk from the authority.
It will also mean increased cost for those who use bulk water for commercial or industrial uses or to fill swimming pools.
Overall, it has been more than seven years since the usage fee — which occurred in January, 2010.
Further, the last base fee increase was six years ago, in January, 2011.
The new residential base rate for being connected to the water system will increase by $6 from $35 per quarter to $41 per quarter — a 17 percent increase.
The new usage rate will increase from $2.78 per 748 gallons to $3.05 per 748 gallons a 9.7 percent hike.
Taken together, that will increase the average household’s quarterly bill by 14 percent, from $62.80 to $71.50 — a $34.80 increase over the course of a year.
That the increase amounts to about 10 cents per day for the average residential water customer.