A proposed $115 million budget that would require a slight increase in water rates and sewer use fees in Hartford and six neighboring towns is the subject of a public hearing at 5 p.m. Monday.
The Metropolitan District Commission, the regional water authority with 101,000 customers in Hartford, West Hartford, East Hartford, Newington, Rocky Hill, Bloomfield and Windsor, will have the hearing at its headquarters at 555 Main St., Hartford.
Under the MDC proposal, water rates would increase 4.8 percent, from $2.07 per hundred cubic feet to $2.17 per hundred cubic feet. Sewer fees that each member town pays MDC would be 3 percent greater if the plan is adopted.
This is the only public hearing. The district board meets Dec. 7 to approve a budget.
The $115,931,100 proposal is 5.4 percent more than the current budget. The increase sought in water rates is the first since 2008, when the rate was $2.21. That rate was reduced in 2009 to $2.07.
"Our biggest attempt with this budget is to keep it as flat as we could," Robert Moore, the MDC chief administrative officer, said Friday.
East Hartford Mayor Melody Currey said Friday that anything the MDC can do to hold down customer costs will be appreciated, as both municipalities and residents are struggling during this recession.
One cost that will increase for water users is the special fee added to water bills for long-term financing of the 15-year, $2 billion MDC project to separate sewage from storm water in metro Hartford and reduce the frequency of sewer overflows from once a week to once a year.
That monthly charge, now at 70 cents, will increase to $1.05 as of January, according to a schedule approved several years ago. The fee will be on monthly bills for another decade to help pay debt service for the project.
The massive project is a result of a 2006 agreement between the MDC and state and federal environmental regulators to fix sewer lines and halt diluted sewage from routinely leaking into local waterways.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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