Fredonia water, sewer rates may go up Wednesday

Water and sewer rates in the village of Fredonia may be on their way upwards on Wednesday.

The village board (with a “nay” from Trustee Marc Ruckman) set a special meeting for that day at noon to consider the enactment of two new local laws, one for a water increase and one for a sewer increase. The increases were unofficially established in the adopted 2014-15 budget, but a public hearing must occur before anything can be set in stone.

“This is a result of the Carriage House closure and the amount of waste we were receiving from Carriage House, as well as the water rates from the water use through them,” Mayor Stephen Keefe said.

According to the laws’ rough drafts, the minimum sewer rental charge may skyrocket from the current $10 per quarter to $35, while the water rate could see a 10-cent bump from the current $2.92 per thousand gallons to $3.02.

The proposed sewer increase may change on the day of the special meeting, however.

“Water and sewer rates are supposed to be a user rate,” former village administrator Jim Sedota, who was involved in establishing the flat rate, said at a recent board meeting. “The intent (of the minimum charge) was to cover the administrative costs for the billing and meter readings, and that was the intent of the flat rate. (The board is) putting this increase on the backs of the small user. I hope (the board) would reconsider and revisit that before (they) make the call on it.”

Current Village Administrator Richard St. George replied by explaining he did a calculation for the sewer rent increase that took Sedota’s concern into consideration.

“I believe it was a dollar increase in the rate, a dollar per thousand, and a $10 increase in the minimum rate,” he said. “I believe those were the numbers, and that got us the revenue that was in the budget. The board has that option available, too.”

Sedota seemed to like this proposal better than the initial one.

“It (the increase) should be a combination; I’m not suggesting that you don’t raise the flat rate, since it’s only $10 a quarter, but some combination will get you the amount of money you need to cover your costs,” he told the board. “I think you’re going to find, even if you raise the sewer rate a dollar, you’re still going to be below most communities in the area.”

Village Attorney Samuel Drayo said the board may make changes to the two local laws up until adoption, provided the trustees do not deem said changes as “substantial.” If those changes are deemed substantial, a new public hearing must be held.

Any changes in the water and sewer rents would take effect June 1.

Also during the meeting, the board approved the 2014 summer band concerts schedule at a total cost not to exceed $2,350. The performers, in order of appearance, will be: Sunny Side Up, Cassadaga Area Band, Farina & Friends, Kokomo Time, Rustic Ramblers, New Horizons, Dave Golando, Dave Yuen Show and Sean Patrick McGraw. The concert series will be held every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Barker Common, starting June 25, with a rain date set for Aug. 20.

Public Works Superintendent Jack Boland was approved to attend the 2014 annual Highway School for Superintendents in Ithaca from June 2-4. Cost will not exceed $510.

The board entered into executive session to discuss the removal of personnel in the sewer and water plants and the DPW and to discuss a specific employee medical condition.

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