Town Manager Austin Faison reports that a new water and sewer rate will be reflected on customers’ bills next month.
Water/sewer bills dated August 3 will be based on the new combined water and sewer rate of $23.65. This is an $0.75 increase from the previous rate of $22.90, which was set in Feb. 2019. This rate is applicable to the billing period that began on April 6.
The need for a rate adjustment was first announced in April as part of the Town Manager’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget submission. This rate adjustment funds the Fiscal Year 2021 water/sewer budget approved by the Town Council on June 16. It is less than the increase anticipated at the onset of the budget process due to updated revenue projections and smaller increases in the final Fiscal Year 2021 assessments the Town pays to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).
The new rate ensures adequate funding is available for the town’s water and sewer needs based on current projections. Revenue raised from these bills is used for the maintenance and repairs to Winthrop’s water and sewer infrastructure, pay off debt from completed projects and saved for future capital projects. This includes projects such as ongoing lead line replacement for water lines, which is required by the state, as well as various sewer projects to eliminate issues with sewer back-ups.
The money raised from water and sewer bills can only be used for water and sewer projects, and cannot be used for any other town project.
“This additional funding will allow us to make necessary repairs to keep our water and sewer systems working the way they should and significantly reduce the risk of having to make emergency repairs,” Town Manager Faison said. “While we recognize that this announcement comes during a difficult time, we wanted to let residents known as soon as possible to allow them to prepare for the increase. These decisions are not ones we make lightly, and we carefully deliberated this issue to protect our residents on a variety of levels.”
The $.075 increase represents an approximately 3% increase. Average users can likely anticipate the following annual household cost impact from the increase:
Annual incremental increases should be expected to ensure the utilities have adequate funding and to avoid large rate increases, as was experienced in 2018 and 2019.