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Upton Selectmen Approve Increased Water / Wastewater Rates

A public hearing was held during Upton's June 18 Board of Selectmen's meeting to discuss the town's new water and wastewater rates. Department of Public Works Director Dennis Westgate was present to discuss the proposed fiscal year 2020 rates, which the Selectmen eventually approved unanimously.

Westgate explained the water and wastewater bills are broken up into three segments consisting of a customer service charge, a water rate charge for water that's used, and a surcharge.

The surcharge rate, he said, is somewhat fluid. Information provided explained that the water and wastewater division's surcharge rates are adjusted quarterly based on total consumption and abatements from the previous quarter, capital outlay, and 50 percent of the total debt (the remaining 50 percent is assessed to the tax levy).

"This year's capital outlay for both divisions totaled $100,000. However, $100,000 of retained earnings were applied to offset that amount in order to avoid a large increase in the surcharge. Because the surcharge rate is a moving target and changes quarterly, it is impossible to state what the rate will be for the upcoming fiscal year. However, it is possible to provide an estimate," said Westgate

The proposed water division was requesting a 1.83 percent increase in the consumption rate with no increase in the customer service charge of $18.08. As a result, the increase shows that the 0 to 3,000 gallons used quarterly will increase from $3.62

to $3.69; 3,001 to 7,500 gallons used quarterly will increase from $4.89 to $4.98; the 7,501 to 20,000 used will increase from $6.45 to $6.57; and more than 20,000 gallons will increase $9.14 to $9.31. The customer service surcharge will remain the same as last year at $18.08.

"Based on that recommendation, the average water-only customer would see a $5 increase per quarter on their billing," said Westgate.

Concerning the wastewater division, Westgate proposed a 3.95 percent hike, which shows an increase from $10.11 to $10.50 for all thousand gallon amounts used quarterly and the customer service surcharge of $85.05 remaining the same.

The almost 4 percent increase shows the biggest impact will be to those who are sewer-only customers, of which there are only six in town. The average quarterly cost for those six will increase from $391.85 to $407.13

Combined water and sewer users will see an average cost increase from $627.72 to $647.32 including the surcharge. Still Westgate believes that $20 increase per quarter will likely be lower due to the wastewater debt coming off.


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