Belmont Rate Payers To See Water, Sewer Bills Rise Less Than 1 Percent

Photo: A slight increase this year in water and sewer rates.

Belmont ratepayers will see their combined water and sewer bill increase a minuscule one half of a percent in the 2019 fiscal year beginning on July 1 as the Belmont Board of Selectmen approved the recommendations from the Belmont Department of Public Works on Monday, April 2.

This marks the third year running where the combined rates have decreased, falling from 2.1 percent in fiscal 2018 and the 4.7 percent hike in fiscal 2017.

Separating the bill’s two components, the average water charge will increase by 1.3 percent while sewer charges will see no increase as opposed to last year when they rose by 1.8 percent, according to Jay Marcotte, Belmont’s DPW director.

The average Belmont homeowner who uses 3,000 cubic feet of water will see their quarterly bill jump by $2 – from the current $431 to $433 – pushing $1,731 for fiscal 2018 that begins July 1, 2018.

Those households and businesses the DPW dubbed as “heavy users” will see their bill increase by $10 per quarter.

Marcotte noted that the major cost driver pushing rates higher is largely due to the annual assessment of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which supplies the town with water and takes its sewage. Nearly 43 percent of Belmont ratepayers water bill comes from the MWRA’s assessment, and 55 percent of the sewer payment. 

The MWRA’s water assessment for Belmont increased by 2.8 percent and the sewer assessment jumping 2.1 percent, with most of that growth due to a large amount of debt held by the agency.

In addition to the rate increase, Marcotte told the board the DPW will continue its 23-year-old program to replace all the pre-1928 cast iron water mains running under town roads. Of 91 miles of pre-1928 main, 42 percent or 38 miles has been replaced. This year, about 5,500 linear feet of pipe will be replaced.

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