Published in the June 24, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The Advisory Board of Public Works is recommending an increase in the water rates for fiscal year 2017 to $6.35 per 100 cubic feet (c.f.) of consumption. The new water rate represents a $0.20 hike over the FY 2016 water rate of $6.15.

The public works board also voted at their June 20 meeting to set the FY 2017 sewer rate at $10.70 per c.f., an increase of $0.15 over the current year’s rate of $10.55.

The total combined water and sewer rate as recommended would be $17.05 per 100 c.f. of consumption. The total combined rate increase is 2.096 percent.

Before voting on the new water and sewer rates, the Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on Monday, June 27 at 7:45 p.m. at the WCAT studios at 24 Hemlock Rd.

According to a memorandum to the selectmen from Robert Curran, chairman of the Advisory Board of Public Works (BPW), the recommended new water rate of $6.35 per 100 c.f. provides for an average annual water bill (after discount) of $685.80 or $171.45 per quarter.

The average annual sewer bill (after discount) would be $1,155.60 or $288.90 per quarter, based on the recommended new rate of $10.70.

The combined average water and sewer bill starting July 1 based on the recommended rates would be $1,841.40 or $460.35 per quarter. This represents a total increase of $37.80 per year (after the discount is taken) for an average water and sewer bill or an increase of $9.45 per quarter (after the discount is taken).

The average water and sewer bill is based on an average single-family house using 12,000 cubic feet or 89,760 gallons of water per year.

According to the memorandum, the average combined Wakefield water/sewer bill as recommended would be less than Reading and Melrose (after the discount is taken).

The Advisory BPW also recommended a sewer flat rate of $321.00 per quarter or $288.90 (after the discount is taken).

The BPW memorandum also notes the following:

• The MWRA sewer assessment represents 76.86 percent of the sewer budget.

• The MWRA water assessment represents 41.47 percent of the water budget.

• The Water budget increased 3.62 percent

• The MWRA sewer assessment increased 3.44 percent

• The Sewer budget increased 4.75 percent of which 66.52 percent is related to the MWRA Inc.

In preparing the fiscal year 2017 water and sewer rates, the following factors were taken into consideration, according to the BPW memorandum:

• Both the water and sewer rates need to fund the operating budget in fiscal year 2017.

• Both the water and sewer reserves need to be sufficient to provide for consumption shortfalls, emergencies and future capital improvements.

• Consumption in fiscal year 2016 increased. This increase has been analyzed and used in the fiscal year 2017 calculation. If the increase is not realized in fiscal year 2017, the shortage would impact the reserves and may require a mid-year increase. As in all years consumption will be monitored closely.

• The MWRA continues to be the most significant item in both the water and sewer budgets.

The rates proposed by the Advisory Board of Public Works will support both the water and sewer division operating budgets in Fiscal Year 2017.

The memorandum also points out that the cost per gallon of water (including the sewer charge) is two cents ($0.023) per gallon compared to a 16 ounce bottle of water bought at the store which costs approximately $1.50 per bottle, or for eight bottles (which equals a gallon) the cost would be $12 per gallon.