Photo: Water and sewer rates are increasing.
Residential and commercial ratepayers will see their combined water and sewer bill increase by 2.1 percent in the coming 2018 fiscal year, as the Belmont Board of Selectmen approved the recommendations from the Belmont Department of Public Works for its annual rate annoucement on Monday, April 3.
The increase is half the 4.7 percent hike in fiscal 2017.
Seperated, the average water bill will increase by 2.5 percent while the sewer charge will jump by 1.8 percent, both increasing less than the rate of inflation which in February was 2.7 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 $12.30 – from the current $419 to $431 – pushing $1,710 for fiscal 2018 that begins July 1, 2017.
Those households and businesses the DPW dubbed as “heavy users” will see their bill increase by $25 per quarter.
Marcotte noted that the major cost driver pushing rates higher is largely due to the annual assessment from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which supplies the town with water and takes its sewage. Nearly 40 percent of Belmont ratepayers water bill comes from the MWRA’s assessment, and 54 percent of the sewer payment.
The MWRA’s water assessment for Belmont increased by 3.1 percent and the sewer assessment jumping 2.4 percent, with most of that growth due to the large amount of debt the agency is holding.
In addition to the rate increase, Marcotte told the board the DPW will continue its 22-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 fiscal year, the DPW will start two major main replacement projects on Payson and Townsend roads while the department will focus on repairs and water quality improvements to the sewers and replacing two pump stations.