Photo: Water main on Brighton being repaired
The annual adjustment of the Belmont water and sewer rates was no adjustment at all as both will remain unchanged from the previous fiscal year. This marks the third consecutive year for water and fourth for sewer where rates remained flat, said Jay Marcotte, director of the Department of Public Works who announced the report at the Select Board’s virtual meeting held Monday, May 10.
The average Belmont homeowner will see its monthly bill remain at approximately $140 for fiscal 2022 beginning July 1.
“It’s surprisingly good news for the ratepayers. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good,” said Select Board Chair Adam Dash.
The zero rate comes as the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority imposed a whopping 9.7 percent increase in Belmont’s assessment, up from the one percent hike in 2020. “This year my eyes popped out of my head when we got the increase,” said Marcotte, as it represented a $296,000 jump from 2021. The MWRA sewer assessment came in at a more typical 3.6 percent.
As with last year, planned use of retained earnings was used to offset the MWRA increase. “We’ve been purposely drawing down [earnings] to basically stabilize rates and not have any impact to our [customers],” said Marcotte.
Marcotte told the board the DPW will continue its quarter-century water improvement program in which all of Belmont’s pre-1928 cast iron mains – which makes up 42 percent or 38 miles of the town’s total – will be replaced. This year, about 6,970 linear feet of pipe will be removed resulting in 31.4 miles of the pre-1928 mains now replaced with the program 83 percent complete.
On the sewer side of the ledger, the town will replace two existing pump stations and start a new one in the Winn Brook neighborhood while budgeting $450,000 for sewer and storm drain main repairs and upgrades.
In addition, $150,000 from both water and sewer capital will go to the installation of fuel tanks at the DPW Yard.