The bird floats in the water of Fredonia, hike in the sewers | News, Sports, Jobs
There is another proposal to raise water and sewer rates in Fredonia.
Administrator David Bird presented it at the board meeting this week. He wants to increase the base rate by $5 per pay period and the usage rate by $1 per 1,000 gallons.
Bird said water treatment and cleaning costs were rising and the rate hike would partially cover that. “Water and sewer have not been measured since 2017”, he added.
“It’s a good starting point to get us back on track.”
Administrator James Lynden, who had his own rate hike plan rejected a few weeks ago, criticized Bird’s proposal. Lynden said his proposal would have cost taxpayers less than Bird’s plan.
“My proposal did save the majority of the community some savings, but actually solved the problem,” he said. Lynden wanted to do away with base fees altogether and move to a variable rate scale based on usage.
“I’m offering this now because the fact is we’re losing gobs and gobs of money right now in our current water and sewer rates,” said the bird. He added that he rejected Lynden’s plan because it would have disproportionately affected large-scale commercial users.
“It increases equally between everyone”, Bird talked about his own plan. “The $5 (base rate) hike is based on everyone using the pipes, everyone having the repairs.”
Mayor Douglas Essek, who joined several local businesses in criticizing Lynden’s plan, backed Bird’s proposal.
“Fair means equal”, says Essek. “And the plan offered by Trustee Bird is an equal amount distributed to each user, whether you are a commercial user or a residential user.”
Administrator Jon Espersen said debating Lynden’s proposal was irrelevant, as it had already been voted down.
“That’s the problem I’m looking at”, said Espersen. “I think it’s a little premature to talk about increasing tariffs, when there will come a time in the very near future when we will have to make a major decision about where we get our water from.”
The village has engineering reports on its ongoing water system, and Espersen advocated waiting for the reports before deciding whether to raise rates. He added that the reports could influence future decisions about Fredonia’s water source, hinting that it could lead to collaboration with the North County Water District.
“It’s going to be far down the road. We have to do something now,” said the bird. He said there should at least be a public hearing on his proposal, with Espersen agreeing.
“If we could possibly manage our expenses in other ways, we should definitely think about it before going ahead with your proposal,” Lynden said to Bird. He said the lack of increases in the hike in previous years was due to a good fund balance, but recent work at the water treatment plant consumed some of that.
With Lynden’s objection, the other directors agreed that Bird’s proposal should be made public for a hearing. Clerk Annemarie Johnston said she would put a resolution requesting the hearing on the trustees’ agenda on October 31.