Water Industry News

139% sewer rate increase proposed in Holyoke, MA

Sunday, May 14, 2006

HOLYOKE - A proposed sewer rate hike from the Board of Public Works, which would boost the rate by 139 percent for two years, comes before the City Council on Tuesday, when it will likely be sent to the Ordinance Committee for review.

If adopted, the new rate would be $4.66 per 1,000 gallons of metered water. The current rate is $1.94 per 1,000 gallons.

In a letter to the council, Public Works Superintendent William D. Fuqua stated that the BPW's proposed rate "is the lowest possible rate structure that adequately responds to all concerns expressed and provides the funds necessary to operate and maintain the wastewater system, pay debt service thereon and to maintain a reasonable reserve (account)."

Fuqua added that the higher rate is needed to pay debt service on a 1 million gallon combined sewer overflow facility required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's administrative order last year "and the associated capital projects to operate the system efficiently."