Published in the June 19, 2015 edition
MELROSE — The aldermen this week okayed an increase in water and sewer rates that will boost the average homeowner’s bill nearly six percent for the year beginning July 1.
The city has a tiered system for paying for water and sewer use. All rates are based on the use of 100 cubic feet of water. Currently water ratepayers using between 1 and 2,000 cubic feet per quarter are charged $5.65 per 100 cubic feet. The new rate for that tier will be $6.07. Those who use between 2,001 and 10,000 cubic feet of water a quarter will see their water rate go from $7.55 per 100 cubic feet to $8.12. Those using over 10,000 cubic feet of water a quarter now pay a water rate of $8.41 per 100 cubic feet; that will be rising to $9.04.
On the sewer side, those using between 1 and 2,000 cubic feet of water a quarter will see their rate go from $9.72 to $10.21; those using between 2,001 and 10,000 will see the rate go from $11.82 to $12.41 and those using over 10,000 cubic feet who now pay $12.45 for every 100 cubic feet will pay $13.07 in the year beginning July 1.
The average water and sewer bill increase for Melrose residents will be 5.9 percent. For example, a customer who used between 1,500 and 2,000 cubic feet (average residential account) of water per quarter had an average quarterly bill of $327 in FY15. That bill would average $345 with the FY16 rates and similar consumption, or $1,380 for the year.
Several factors go into the determination of the annual water and sewer rates, not the least of which is the cost of the city’s water and sewer operation. Upgrades to the city’s water and sewer infrastructure also must be paid for, as does the annual assessment charged to the city by the Mass. Water Resources Authority.
Upgrade done last year, for instance, included 1,800 feet of 12 inch water main underneath Lebanon Street from Porter to Upham, and another 253 feet of 8 inch main and 110 feet of 10 inch main from Lynde to Grove streets. On Linwood Avneue from Lynde to Grove streets, the DPW put down 2,000 feet of 8 inch main. On Lincoln Street, 1,400 feet of 8 inch main was laid.
Sewer work included 10,000 feet of liner replacement, 12,200 hours of sewer system camera inspection and cleaning, the testing of 640 pipe joints, 5,400 feet of chemical root treatment and 500 feet of open cut repairs.
There were also 10 water main breaks last year, and 22 sewer main blocks, among many other things.