Bedford's Town Board has set a Sept. 3 public hearing for a proposed water rate increase in the Consolidated Water District, which is meant to pay for operations of the new water filtration plant in Katonah.
The average rate increase would rise by 20 percent, said Kevin Winn, the town's Department of Public Works commissioner, with a $97 average rise annually. The rise is less than anticipated several years ago, Winn told the board, and in a memo to officials he wrote that factors for the lower figure include changes to residuals disposal and electricity costs.
The plant has been running for about two months, Winn said. The board unanimously voted at its Aug. 6 meeting to set the hearing.
The proposed fee schedule does not require a public hearing, Winn said, but said it "would be good to discuss this with the residents.”
The proposed fee schedule has a new, lower tier for residential meters, which are for 5/8" and 3/4". This runs from zero to 5,000 gallons and a flat fee of $19.80. It is in contrast to the old basic tier, which runs from zero to 10,000 gallons with a flat fee of $45.26. Meanwhile, 1-meter rates will be the same as the smaller meters, while basic flat fees for bigger meters - they are not for residential customers - will rise from $45.26 to $49.50. In the case of the largest meters, which are for 2, 3 and 4, the bottom tier will expand from zero to 10,000 gallons to a 15,000-gallon limit.
Customers who go beyond the basic tier would pay a set dollar amount per thousand gallons.
The new structure is intended to encourage water conservation, explained Winn, and to lower the financial impact on low-income residents, who would save money under the lower tier.
Supervisor Lee Roberts echoed these sentiments.
“I think it's really important for the users on the lower end of the consumption to be able to have a break, especially the elderly and those with limited incomes," she said, also noting the conservation aspect.
The Consolidated Water District, according to town information, serves 2,137 residential and commercial customers in Bedford Hills and Katonah. While it is one of several water districts in the town, it is the largest in terms of customers. Properties that are not in any of the districts are served by well water.
To view the complete list of the proposed water rate hikes, click here.