Bulk water rates hiked

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

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.

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