Massena village trustees approve water rate increase effective July 1

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May 21—MASSENA — Village of Massena residents will see a slightly higher water bill starting in July.

Following a public hearing that drew no comments from either the public or village board on Tuesday, trustees agreed to increase user fees for water inside and outside of the village, effective July 1.

Users inside the village will see an increase in the monthly rate per 1,000 gallons from $4.70 to $4.89 for the first 3,000 gallons; from $3.99 to $4.15 for the next 17,000 gallons; and from $3.09 to $3.21 for excess of 20,000 gallons.

The minimum allowed usage is 3,000 gallons per month, or $14.67 per month, or $29.34 every two months.

"You're seeing some small increases to the users inside the village," Mayor Gregory M. Paquin said.

Users outside the village will see an increase in the monthly rate for 1,000 gallons from $4.94 to $5.14 for residential; $8.99 to $9.35 for commercial; $8.99 to $9.35 for industrial; and $4.94 to $5.14 for institutional users.

Users outside the village who aren't in a district will see an increase in the monthly rate for 1,000 gallons from $6.18 to $6.43 for residential; $11.23 to $11.68 for commercial; $8.99 to $9.35 for industrial; and $6.18 to $6.43 for institutional. The non district fee will increase from $14 per month per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) to $20 per month per EDU.

Trustees had agreed in April to set a public hearing because of the concern that expenses were outpacing revenues in the village of Massena's water fund. Mr. Paquin had told trustees during his budget presentation that expenses are projected to be $2,242,105, while revenues are projected at $2,055,468.

"As you guys saw in the budget presentation, our expenses are outweighing our revenues. So, we would like to have a discussion about the possibility of moving the rates anywhere between 2 to 4%," he said last month.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Marty G. Miller told trustees in April that they've been seeing issues with the transmission distribution system that need to be addressed.

He also said the Massena water tower on Bowers Street needed to be addressed based on the findings from an engineering report completed in 2019. He said that could mean $2.5 million in repairs or possibly a new tower, and they needed to start building funds back up to address those projects.

"Those issues are not fixing themselves. It's not getting any better," Mr. Miller said. "I know there's grant money out there, but grant money is usually not 100% funding a project."