Village to revisit new water rates

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    WARWICK-Hold on there. Just last month the Village of Warwick approved a measure to hike water and sewer rates for all users--village residents and non-village residents, commercial and industrial users. Now, the board will reconsider the hike to commercial users after several business owners said their water bill might increase more than 50 percent when the increase is implemented. "Some commercial accounts will see a 50 to 60 percent change in their water bills," said Mayor Michael Newhard. "Both laundromat owners came to see me about it. This board doesn't want to make it difficult to do business in the village. I think we should revisit it." And that's just what the board will do. The village plans to create a committee, which will include some of the bigger commercial water users in the village, to look into the impact on businesses. The committee will also include the village's accountant, since this is not a profit-making venture. The village water rate only covers its cost of providing water to its customers. There will be a time limit. Trustee George McManus agreed to put a hold on the rate increase but said it should only be through this billing quarter. Only the commercial rates will be up for discussion. A representative of homeowners who live on Kings Highway and are out-of-village water users said their rate also is rising significantly. The board kept that increase intact, explaining that out-of-village users must make up for the water land tax paid only by village residents. These taxes go toward paying off the village's bonds for the water and sewer plants but the village cannot impose a tax on non-village properties. "I think that it is in the end fair," Newhard said. "Even though they're seeing a big increase, it is the same that a village resident would pay." Residential and commercial users in the village were scheduled to pay $2.96 per 1,000 gallons for water use up to 100,000 gallons. This is up from $2.90. Usage over 100,000 was to be billed at $5.10. The village created the designation of commercial user but kept the commercial rate the same as residential. The village also created an industrial user designation, which includes Georgia Pacific and Mechanical Rubber. They will pay $5.56 per thousand gallons. The out-of-village rate was hiked for non-industrial properties, bringing that rate to $10.52 per 1,000 gallons. Out-of-village industrial water consumers will now pay $11.12 per 1,000 gallons, up from $5.45 for the first 100,000 gallons and $4.23 over that. The new rates are now on hold-at least until September, when the committee makes its recommendation to the board.