Hearing on water increase for parts of two-county area

Mohawk Valley Water Authority will conduct a public hearing about a proposed 2 percent increase in water rates at 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23 at Utica City Hall.

If approved, the rate increase would take effect in April.

The change would represent an increase of about $8 per year for the average household, or 75 cents per month. MVWA officials said the reasons for the increase are as follows:

¿ An increase in the cost of water treatment chemicals of $138,000.

¿ An increase of annual debt payments on bond issues of $372,000 to fund capital improvements, including a new water tank.

¿ An increase in health insurance premiums of $140,000.

¿ A continued decline in overall water usage of approximately 2 percent.

¿ It will be the first year that the use of Granular Activated Carbon at the water treatment plant will be funded directly from the sale of water. Last year, 75 percent of the cost of the new, unfunded mandate was paid for from a cash reserve set up for that purpose.

The proposed budget is also funded in part by drawing $750,000 from unrestricted reserve accounts set aside for water system operations and maintenance. Overall, approximately 4 percent of the proposed budget will be funded from accumulated surplus carried forward from prior years which negates the need for a higher rate increase.

MVWA provides drinking water to 130,000 customers throughout 18 municipalities in Oneida and Herkimer counties. Rome has an independent source, filtration and distribution system. For more information, contact MVWA at 792-0301 or online at www.mvwa.us.