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Village water rates to increase by 10%

Village Trustee Joseph Kozloski reads the resolution authorizing a $250,000 bond for improvements to the village’s water system in February. Village water rates will increase by 10% beginning in the third quarter and will show up in the October bills.
April 18, 2019 10:01 pm

CATSKILL — Village residents can expect higher water bills in the coming months to pay for system improvements, officials said.

The board of trustees passed a resolution in February authorizing a $250,000 bond to replace a filtration unit in the water plant, purchase new water meters for residences and install new billing software.

The bond will be repaid in quarterly payments of $15,000 for five years, village officials said.

To accommodate the debt service, the village will raise water rates by 10% in the third quarter, Village President Vincent Seeley said.

“[The increase] will be reflected in the October bill,” Seeley said. “The rate increase is primarily due to our efforts to maintain current operations, invest in water quality infrastructure and improve operations by purchasing new billing software.”

Investing in the village’s water supply is a priority, Seeley said.

“We realize that cost-effective, quality drinking water is one of the keys to creating a better place to live and visit. We are aggressively applying for several water infrastructure grants that will aid us in future improvements and rate stabilization efforts.”

Village residents and business owners reacted to the news Thursday.

Kristi Gibson, a village resident and owner of Magpie Bookshop, thinks the increase would have little impact on her.

“I try to conserve as much water as possible,” Gibson said, adding that her bills are typically quite low.

Village resident Roz Viemeister, owner of Shoofly, thinks the raise was necessary.

“Nobody likes to have the rates be raised but if it means fixing the old infrastructure, than so be it,” she said. “That’s what taxes are for — betterment of the community.”

The village also sees the opportunity for growth, Seeley said.

“We are in very good shape with about a 50% safe yield,” he said. “In other words, we could expand our usage by 30% to 40% without any major capital investment. For us, water is a commodity and can be offered at a cost to other municipalities.”

The village Department of Public Works has begun working on the upgrades, DPW Superintendent Michael McGrath said.

“The filtration unit should be on and running by the end of next week,” he said.

The filter was 20 years old and cost about $90,000 to replace because it cracked, McGrath said.

There are two other filters in the plant.

DPW crews will work on replacing the 13-year-old water meters throughout the course of the summer, McGrath said.

“You can radio-read them from the trucks so you don’t have to go in people’s homes,” McGrath said of the new meters.

The upgrade is more efficient in terms of manpower, he said.

“Before, if you got half the houses done you were lucky,” McGrath said. “Now you need one guy out there instead of five and you can do it all in one day instead of a week.”

The village has to replace about 1,000 meters, McGrath said.

Master Meter, the company that handles the village’s meter system, will install the new billing software in three weeks, McGrath said.

“We had to wait for the last billing cycle to end,” he said.

Residents will now have the option to pay their bills online.

The village has had ongoing issues with water-main breaks and discoloration due to aging infrastructure and weather conditions.

Seeley wants to start replacing sections of the 120-year-old water main in the 2019 capital plan, he said.

The village does not have figures drawn up yet for the capital plan.

Considering that in the past year, I've had to replace a dishwasher, and clean the new filters in the new machine from blockage caused by incoming Village water supply, despite having a full system trap AND chlorine + particulate household water filtration system, an overhaul of the Village system is welcome, because in the long run it will cause less wear and tear on my household systems. Due to the amount of defensive chlorination the Village has had to engage in we've shot through $30 filters in half their allotted minimum life span.

This is an old village and no one should be surprised that when things get old they require care, replacement and expense. It's much better to give our Water Department the proper tools they need to manage our water quality properly than force them into an over reliance on dispensing chlorine in large quantities that can catalyze complications in pvc piping. The same with replacing mains. Breaks create havoc with silt and cloudiness along with 'boil water' advisories.
The large number of water main breaks means the repairs can’t wait, so yes. Trivial and necessary. On reading though where are the mains repairs?

A new jail boondoggle at $90 million, which entirely leaves the county, is rape and pillage. Yes clean reliable water, no to monster in Coxsackie.