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Broadalbin residents to see increase in water bills

The Village of Broadalbin Board of Trustees held a regular open meeting on Tuesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Shown from the left is Trustee David Jennings and Mayor Lawrence Cornell. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

BROADALBIN — Residents in the village will see an increase in their water bills starting in November after the village Board of Trustees increased water rates $25.

A public hearing was held at the Broadalbin Village Board of Trustee’s regular meeting on Tuesday in which the board held its first open meeting since the start of the pandemic. However, no comments were made on the water rate increase, and trustees made a motion to move forward with the increase.

The proposed rates increase the minimum charge for water for all classes by $25 and proposed rates increase for water for all classes by $1 for the rate per 1,000 gallons over the minimum.

Water rates increased in 2016 by $10 and the sewer rates also decreased by $10. Since the sewer rates decreased by $10, that offset users’ bills rather than increasing their bills. Therefore village residents, who pay both water and sewer saw no changes to their bill for every six months.

“The board decided to do a rate increase for water. The last rate of increase was $10 across all classes in may of 2016, however, that was offset by a decrease in the sewer rates. So, there truly was not any effect to the consumer,” said Trustee Sue DeRocker. “At this point we’ve recommended that we up the rates at $25 per customer within the amount that they use without going over and then the traditional gallon over 15,000 will be billed accordingly.”

DeRocker said they do not anticipate increasing sewer rates at this time, but increasing water rates was needed due to the village’s depleted water fund that has been caused by emergency pairs for things such as water main breaks and water tower costs. Those costs have totaled to be about $39,660 in the last two years.

“So that to the boards way of thinking was a reason to definately increase the water rates. We will need to have the necessary increases to help cover that deficit,” DeRocker said.

Mayor Lawrence Cornell said the current waters finance structure also has been unstable for a long period of time, and the board needed to take action to strengthen it. He added that it made more sense to increase the rates all at once rather than gradually increasing them over time.

“The reality is if you really looked at it, if we increased it about 3 percent a year, we’d pretty much be in the same place,” Cornell said. “It’s just every time we do an increase, if it’s only a few dollars you’d have to have a public hearings and stuff like that. Sometimes it’s not worth all that aggravation. This seems like all our water rate increases and things like that pile up and it seems larger but it’s because of the time period in between.”

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