Water rates increasing in FY 2018

On May 1, the Water Commission approved the fiscal year 2018 water budget of $1,147,668. In addition, the wastewater budget is well on its way to adoption by the Selectboard. The two budgets differ from the General Fund in that they are treated more as private entities.

Water rate payers will be seeing an increase of 6.6% or $0.40/thousand gallons. For a household using 70,000 gallons per year, that would mean an annual increase of $28. In a household that uses 40,000 gallons, the increase would be $16.

Town Manager Joe Colangelo said that there was a greater increase than usual due to two factors. One was the USG South Tank maintenance contract costing $90,170 per year, which started during the current fiscal year and will continue for five years. The other factor was the one-time cost of $59,000 for work at North Tank that was performed prior to turning that tank over to Champlain Water district.

The water budget itself went up by 1.7%. However, the water rates increased by 6.6%. Colangelo said that much of that increase was due to CWD, which raised the cost of water $0.062 per gallon, or 3%.

It is anticipated that there will be 157,200,000 gallons of water sold during the year. This is an increase of 3%, and is in keeping with the trend of increased water sales during the past few years.

At the May 9 Selectboard meeting, a presentation was made of the first draft of the Fiscal Year 2018 wastewater budget. The proposed budget of just over $1,906,829 would result in a rate increase of $0.34 per thousand gallons or 2.6%. For a household using 70,000 gallons per year, that would mean $24 more annually. A household using 20,000 gallons per year would see an increase of $7 annually.

The wastewater budget assumes that there will be 134.5 million gallons billed for the year. This is an increase of 1.5% from the previous fiscal year.

Colangelo noted that Shelburne’s rates both for water and wastewater are relatively high compared to that of the rest of Chittenden County, due to a lack of high-use industrial or commercial users. Colangelo said that the town has both the capacity and infrastructure to expand.

Although the wastewater budget has not yet been finalized, Colangelo does not anticipate that there will be much change between what was presented at the Selectboard meeting and the version that should soon be passed.

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