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Fiscal year 2020 water and sewer rates approved

LONGMEADOW – The Select Board recently approved the water, sewer and stormwater rates for fiscal year 2020.

Residents will see increases in all three rates.

The water rate will increase from $3.27 per 100 cubic feet to $3.45, an increase of 5.51%. Sewer rates will climb from $2.50 per 100 cubic feet, a 3.2% hike.

Stormwater fees also increased from $2.25 to $3.39.

Selectman Mark Gold was the lone dissenting vote against the water rates as he proposed moving $100,000 from the reserve line item to a capital line item, but his proposal was not supported by the board. The board unanimously approved the sewer rate and stormwater fees.

In his memo to the board, Finance Director Paul Pasterczyk said the increases were all resultant of capital needs and reflect the budget amounts approved at the May 14 Annual Town Meeting.

“In the case of the water and sewer funds, FY 2020 is the first year that their portion of the DPW project debt service is being funded through rates (FY 2019 DPW debt service was funded through reserves). The FY 2020 DPW debt service is $119,075 for water and $98,250 for sewer. Debt service in the Stormwater Fund jumped over $100K as a result of debt service for the Morningside Culvert and Magnolia Circle Drainage projects,” he wrote

Pasterczyk added that the stormwater fees now cover an additional 4% of the stormwater operating budget compared to the previous fiscal year – 34.64% to $30.64% – and he intends to increase that percentage annually in order eventually have a fully-funded stormwater enterprise fund.

Pasterczyk and Town Manager Stephen Crane noted the increase, when taking into account the fact that the town is only increasing taxes by 2% as opposed to the 2 1/2% allowed by Proposition 2 1/2, would actually result in savings for most homeowners, depending on the value of the property.