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Scituate sewer rates to go up by 2 percent

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  June 21, 2013 04:52 PM

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Scituate will increase sewer rates by 2 percent come July to help pay for increasing operating costs.

The increase will bring sewer costs up by an average of $11 a year, to $563.

“We need to ensure the sewer enterprise has sufficient revenues,” said the director of the Department of Public Works, Al Bangert, at a selectmen meeting on Tuesday, where selectmen approved the change.

According to Bangert, the additional revenue would produce an extra $43,000 a year for the town, money that would go toward operating costs as well as paying off debt.

Increasing wages from a new DPW contract, higher chemical costs, and higher supply costs also mandated that rates be raised, Bangert said.

Unlike other departments, which can use money from elsewhere in the town to cover expenses, the town’s sewer program can only operate off the revenues it produces.

While the account has $1.1 million in savings that could be dipped into, Bangert warned against using the money hap-hazardously.

“That’s savings for a [potential sewer plant] breakdown,” Bangert said.

Scituate hasn’t seen an increase in sewer rates since 2011, when the town increased rates by a hefty 10 percent.

The jump was to make up for lost time, officials said. Prior to 2011, the last increase occurred in 2004.

According to Bangert, residents should start to expect annual increases.

“We can get by on 2 percent every year or every other year,” Bangert said.

While costs are going up, officials noted that Scituate’s sewer costs are still the lowest compared with any coastal town on the South Shore.

Sewer costs are twice as high in Hingham and Cohasset compared with Scituate. In Marshfield, costs are a third higher.

“Scituate enjoys lowest sewer cost in coastal communities from Quincy to the Cape,” Bangert said.

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