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Pay up: Water and sewer bill to increase PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by DAVE BOEHLER   
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 16:05

Village Board says decision was ‘a hard one’ to raise sewer cost by 10% and water by 3%

    Water and sewer bills will cost about $64 more per year after the Fredonia Village Board approved increases last Thursday.
    “Yeah, this is a hard one,” board president Don Dohrwardt said. “Any time you make a proposal to raise taxes or fees or something like that, that’s not a popular motion to make.”
    A 10% sewer increase will kick in Jan. 1 and a 3% water increase starts the third quarter of next year. This equates to about a $15 increase per bill, which is issued four times a year.
    “The committee wrestled with this, which is always a hard thing to do,” Dohrwardt said. “I would liken this to what federal government has been doing with social security for years and years and years. I don’t believe in kicking the can down the road. We have upgrades coming in the early 2020s, and they’re going to be expensive. I think it behooves us to catch up to at least paying the operations currently.
    “I’d rather have modest increases over a number of years than end up with a 50-60 percent increase in sewer bills all in one chunk or something to pay for bonds. I think this is the way to do it, even though I don’t want to raise my sewer bill nor does anyone else on the committee. This is a way for us to catch up and be where we should be.”
    Dohrwardt says still, and for a long time, the board has been funding the balance of operations expenses with reserve funds and replacement funds just to make the budget balance.
    “I’d like to get to a point where we can actually cover the operational costs with the fees, which is the way it’s supposed to be,” Dohrwardt said. “I don’t want to end up with a problem like Belgium where they’re looking for property to use to spread things out on to keep the bills down. We have to keep on top of this.”
    For several years, the sewer fees had not met the amount of dollars it takes to pay to run the sewer plant.
    The board is also looking at a major plant upgrade in the early-to-mid 2020s that will probably cost $3 to 4 million, if not more, according to Dohrwardt.
    He says he wants to be able to catch up with the fee structures so it not only is paying for current expenses, but it is able to put a little bit away each year toward the project.
    “It’s an increase; it’s more money out of the family budget,” Dohrwardt said. “But it’s not really extravagant. … Generally we get good feedback from the residents, who will first tell you, ‘I don’t know how to pay for this. But if we have to, I like it the way you’re doing it rather than in big chunks at a time.’”

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