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Montuori Announces Modest Increases In Water, Sewer Rates For Fiscal Year 2016

Mar 11, 2015 03:57PM ● By Bill Gilman
Tewksbury water and sewer rates will inch higher in Fiscal Year 2016. But the hikes will be nowhere near as high as those residents have come to fear over the past five years.
In a presentation at Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Manager Richard Montuori unveiled plans that call for a 5 percent increase in water rates and a 6 percent increase in sewer rates for the average Tewksbury homeowner.
According to Montuori, the average homeowner, with usage of 55,000 gallons of water per year would see their rate jump from $9.82 to $10.31 per 1,000 gallons. In real numbers, this would mean an increase in their water bill of $22.19, from $442.18 to $464.37 per year.
According to Montuori, Tewksbury's water rates are slightly above the state average and above the average for communities in the MWRA District.
For the average sewer customer, using 55,000 gallons per year, the rate would jump from $9.10 to $9.65 per 1,000 gallons. In real numbers, this will mean an increase in average sewer bills of $25.83, from $431.48 to $457.31 per year.
Montuori's figures indicate Tewksbury's sewer rates remain higher than the state average but are below the average for communities in the MWRA District.
Montuori's Water Enterprise Budget showed an operating budget that projects to actually decrease by close to $400,000 in FY 16. However, That reduction is more than offset by the proposed $13.1 million Water Treatment Plant upgrade that will go before voters at the Annual Town Meeting in May. The project would be paid for by borrowing.
"The information I've received is that interest rates are still favorable," said Montuori. "The last we heard was interest rates were still around 3.75 percent."
According to Montuori, the increase in sewer rates comes primarily from two sources. The first is an increase of $185,639.55 in principal and interest payments in FY 16 on the town-wide $100 million sewer project. The second significant increase was a $211,202 jump in the assessment Tewksbury pays into the Lowell Sewer Authority for sewage pumped into the Lowell system. The assessment increase indicates an increase in usage for Tewksbury.
Montuori's complete Powerpoint presentation on the Water and Sewer Enterprise Funds will be posted on the town website later this week.

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