Fredonia is still talking about rate changes | News, Sports, Jobs
Fredonia’s board continued to discuss eliminating or phasing out water user fees at a meeting this month. It is clear that they want to take it slow.
“There are multiple ways to structure it, and we just want to make sure the details are ironed out before we go any further with this,” said trustee James Lynden, who originally proposed the change at the previous meeting of trustees to ease the tax burden for low-volume residential customers.
Lynden continued, “You can do a flat rate, you can do a volume metric rate, you can do a decreasing block rate, an increasing block rate, things like that, or we can break it down in increments over a period of time to eliminate this fresh base.”
Administrator Nicole Siracuse expressed concern about eliminating the basic water fee all at once.
“I’m just taking a look at the impact this was going to have on our primary consumers,” she says. “It was so terrible to turn to SUNY Fredonia and say, ‘Okay, from this date on, you’re going to be paying tens of thousands of dollars more in water rates.'”
Syracuse has advocated lowering the base rate by a few dollars and raising the rate by a few cents, each year over a five-year period.
Lynden said village treasurer Erlyssa LeBeau is working with numbers to come up with a series of options. “We really need to take our time and look at those options before we push for a resolution, with a decision on that,” he said.
“I’m just trying to balance things out, so people are more comfortable paying for what they’re using, because it’s usage fees,” he added.
Administrator Jon Espersen said the village needs to resolve some water billing issues with the town of Pomfret before moving forward. Fredonia officials need to be clear about their goals, he added.
Lynden said the village has a deficit in the water budget “and we can’t last more than two years with such a deficit without being in a big problem. So we have to control it, and if we work on it now, we can do it.
Mayor Douglas Essek warned administrators that they should recognize how much heavy users would see their bills rise if base fees were eliminated. He said administrators need to ensure that the increased revenue from usage rate hikes offsets the revenue loss from removing a base rate.