water faucet

A few changes to the water and sewer billing from the town were adopted this week--two which will be implemented in the near future with a third coming next calendar year.

On Tuesday, the Town of Essex Selectboard voted to adopt recommendations from town staff which affect the rate of the utilities and the frequency for which they are billed.

Starting for the next billing cycle, the water rate will increase by 1.1 percent to $5.62 per 1,000 gallons while the sewer rate will go up by 1.0 percent to $9.64 per 1,000 gallons. For a single family residence that uses an average of 200 gallons per day of the municipal utilities, that equates to a $0.97 per-month increase.

Town staff say the increases are necessary to keep up with the rising water costs of the Champlain Water District and the wastewater treatment costs of the Tri-town Wastewater Treatment Facility--which are 3.7 and 1.9 percent, respectively.

The yearly minimum public water charge remains the same at $180 per year--as does the $1,000 base fee for water initiation plus $5.73 per gallon per day of capacity. Similarly, the $1,000 fee per connection for sewer initiation, plus $10.30 per gallon of capacity, remains the same.

A second change, being enacted July 1 to coincide with the start of the next fiscal year, is that interim or final billing requests -- which were previously done at no charge to the resident -- will carry a $35 fee. Public Works Director Dennis Lutz said at Tuesday’s meeting that the charge helps the town recoup some of the costs associated with sending out someone to read the meter, typing up the paperwork, and sending that information to lawyers if it’s part of a sale closing.

The town has also decided to move from two to three billing periods starting next year. Assistant Manager and Finance Director Sarah Macy said the change will help users better gauge what their water consumption is on a more-regular basis--as well as an increased frequency of billing. Instead of bills going out in May and November, they will be sent in March, July, and November starting in 2021.

Any questions regarding the new sewer and water rates and fee structure can be directed to the Public Works Department at 878-1344.

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