GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Water rates for property owners in the Greenburgh Water District will be rising again this spring.
An estimated 10,600 customers will see their water bill jump by about 35 percent. Rates increased last year by more than 70 percent after being frozen for about five years.
"This is a major increase because we hadn't raised fees over the years, which was probably a mistake, and people are going to be upset," said Supervisor Paul Feiner. "I felt everyone was swamped by a million different things and we didn't want to pass along another increase."
However, Victor Carosi, commissioner of public works, explained that higher internal costs and increasing fees from New York City made it unavoidable to charge residents more.
"It's a compounding effect," Carosi said. "Water is becoming a much more valuable item and water will continue to have greater costs to purifying it. Water is definitely going to become much more costly in the future and conservation will be the key."
Most property owners are billed quarterly and the average resident who uses between 80,000 and 100,000 gallons of water annually pays $250 to $300.
Last year, water rates jumped from $2.39 per 1,000 gallons to $4.10. The next hike, likely to occur in April or May, is projected to go from $4.10 to $4.53, which Feiner noted is about $2 less per 1,000 gallons than he and other United Water customers pay.
"Even with the increased costs, people are still paying substantially less than people with United Water," Feiner said. "The private sector is charging them much more."
A public hearing on the proposed water rate increases will be held March 20 at town hall.
Meanwhile, Carosi told the town board he would like to move forward with plans to replace all water meters in the town, which he estimated could cost between $4 million and $4.5 million.
"The water meters have passed their useful life," Carosi said. "We're evaluating our options, which is a phase-in approach or all at once. I would like to do it this year if the town board authorizes the action."
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