The Saratoga Springs City Council Tuesday, April 1, voted unanimously to approve water and sewer rate increases that were tabled at the last regular meeting.
There's only one way to vote on this, commented Mayor Scott Johnson, after hearing of an almost $169,000 water budget shortfall that has occurred since 2004.
Commissioner of Public Works Anthony "Skip" Scirocco said there were many factors outside of his department's control " such as rising fuel and energy costs " driving the water-rate increase.
"Our expenses are surpassing sales," said Scirocco.
Public Works Director William McTygue has said the increase was relatively minor and would help restore a sound operational budget for water and sewer improvements and cover past operational deficits.
The city's water and sewer rates are based upon a 13-tier system that charges users based on water consumption. The first three categories that range in use from zero to 25,000 cubic feet of water comprise 97 percent of the city's water users.
The average city user consumes 3,500 cubic feet of water per year. A single cubic foot of water is equal to 7.5 gallons.
The first tier, users between zero and 2,000 cubic feet, which make up 55 percent of the total users, are slated for a $1.35 per 1,000 cubic feet increase to $10.40; second tier, 2,000 to 8,000 cubic feet, 36 percent of users, will see a $1.66 per 1,000 cubic foot increase to $12.50; and tier three, 8,000 to 25,000 cubic feet, six percent of users, will see a $1.74 increase, to $13.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The past two years, new technology and water conservation efforts have made good on cutting back on water consumption. Last year and this year, water and sewer rates have had to increase as usage decreases and the cost of maintaining the city's aging water infrastructure increases in both cost and frequency, said Scirocco.