Photo: Water, sewer rates will not rise this year.
It may have been April 1 but it was no joke; Belmont’s water and sewer rates will remain stable for the next fiscal year.
“This is no April Fool’s,” said Jay Marcotte, director of Belmont’s Department of Public Works at the Belmont Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Monday. The stable rate marks consecutive years that the sewer rate has not risen.
The average Belmont homeowner which uses 3,000 cubic feet of water will see their quarterly bill remain at $433, or about $1,731 for fiscal ’20 that begins July 1, 2019.
As a member of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Belmont’s water and sewage services are supplied by the regional utility and its assessment makes up the largest amount of both budgets. For fiscal 2020, 43 percent of the town’s $7 million water budget and 57 percent of the nearly $9.5 million sewage budget is based on the authority’s assessment.
This fiscal year, the water assessment has decreased by one percent, what Marcotte said is the “first time ever” he has seen a reduction. The five percent increase in the sewage rate was “a little bit unexpected” as the assessment averaged 3.5 percent in the past few years. Despite the increase in the overall assessment, savings from other areas such as having bids coming in at a lower amount than expected allowed for no increase for residents and businesses.
In addition to the rate increase, the DPW continue its 24-year-old program to replace all the pre-1928 cast iron water mains. Starting with 91 miles of pre-1928 main, 42 percent or 38 miles has been replaced. This year, about 4,700 linear feet of new pipe will be laid.