LETTERS

Village should rethink sewer, water billing

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

To the Editor:

On May 20, 2008, the Penn Yan Village Board approved raising the water rate by $0.30 per thousand gallons of water and sewer rate by $0.30 per thousand gallons of water. This is the fourth consecutive year that the water rates have been raised.

However, the purpose of this letter is not to condemn either the Penn Yan Village Board or the Municipal Utilities board for raising the rates. These rate increases were necessary in order to deliver the water and sewer services to the residents of Penn Yan.

That said, I believe the village board should price the water and sewer usage based solely on the amount of water used and eliminate the customer charge on the water and sewer bill.

Currently, the water and sewer bill for village water and sewer residential customers consist of a $12 customer charge for water and a $12 customer charge for sewer service plus a consumption charges for water and sewer that are based on the amount of water used.

This means a customer using 5,000 gallons of water a month pays $65.50 or $13.10 per 1,000 gallons for water and sewer, while a customer using 20,000 gallons of water a month pays $200.95 or $10.05 per 1000 gallons for water and sewer.

Thus, a customer using four times the amount of water, is paying $3.05 per 1,000 gallons less than the residence that uses less water. If both cut their water use by 50 percent, the residence now using 2,500 gallons per month will pay $44.75 or $17.90 per 1000 gallons for water and sewer.

The other hypothetical customer, who is now using 10,000 gallons a month, will now pay $110.65 dollars or $11.07 per 1000 gallons for water and sewer.

The village treasurer has stated that the recent rate increase will bring in enough money to cover the budget increase for the water and sewer appropriation. This implies that the village of Penn Yan uses approximately 325 million gallons of water annually. If the customer charge was eliminated and water   usage rate was adjusted to cover water and sewer appropriation each customer would pay approximately $4.77 per 1,000 gallons for water and $4.77 per 1,000 gallons for sewer.

Using this rate if a customer used 5,000 a month they would pay $47.70 for a savings of $17.80 per month under current water rate system. The customer using 20,000 gallons per month would pay exactly four times more or $190.80 per month for a savings of $10.15 per month. If both of these hypothetical customers reduced their water usage by 50 percent they would each realize a 50 percent savings, but would still be paying the same amount per gallon.

Please ask the members of the village board why they feel it is fair to charge those customers who use a smaller amount of water more pre gallon than they charge customers who use a much larger amount of water.

This is the equivalent of a gas station owner charging the customer who has a fuel efficient car more per gallon of gasoline than a customer who owns a large SUV.

Wayne Davidson

Penn Yan