Water rates go down the drain

  • Published in News

Waitsfield’s water rates are going down, thanks to new users of the municipal system.

The Waitsfield Water Commission, at its May 10 meeting, adopted updated water system rates, which are effective July 1.

Because Lawson’s Finest Liquids, currently under construction on Carroll Road in Waitsfield, will be coming online and the town of Waitsfield came online, water system billing revenues will increase by 26 percent in July.

Waitsfield agreed to buy 44 ERUs in the system to account for cost of fire protection that was built into the system. Lawson’s is connecting with 18 ERUs. An ERU is an equivalent residential unit which assesses water use based on the usage of a three-bedroom house.

At last week’s meeting the commission voted to adopt the new lower rates and also use some of the additional revenue to increase the emergency and asset replacement reserves from $10,000 to $26,200, an increase of 162 percent, and decrease the annual fees for an existing user paying debt service and operation and maintenance by 18 percent.

The per-ERU annual billing will be reduced 18 percent, from $800 per ERU to $656. The per-ERU debt service payment is reduced by 20.67 percent, from $600 to $476 annually. The per-ERU operation and maintenance and reserve fund is dropping 10 percent, from $200 to $180 per ERU annually.

Water system users are billed quarterly for each of those three components. Each user is allowed to use 10,000 gallons of water each quarter for each ERU.

In addition to lower rates for users, the water commission has also lowered the rates for new users to sign onto the system. Users will be provided and charged for the town providing a water meter, pressure reducing valve and backflow prevention device and the customer will pay for the actual costs of meter, appurtenances and water operator times.