Murray raises water rates by 25 cents

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 April 2017 at 10:44 am

Revised policy stipulates only town employees can hook up water meters

MURRAY – The Town Board approved higher water rates on Tuesday, an increase from $4.25 to $4.50 per 1,000 gallons.

The town raised the rates “based on our increased costs,” said Ed Morgan, the highway and water superintendent.

He said the rates were last increased in 2014. The town’s primary water supplier, the Monroe County Water Authority, has steadily increased its rates to the town, currently charging Murray $3.25 per 1,000 gallons plus an additional meter charge, Morgan said.

“That doesn’t leave much margin for water loss and operations and maintenance,” Morgan told the board.

He said the average residential water customer uses 9,400 gallons per quarter. Raising the rates by 25 cents will cost the average user an extra $2.36 every three months, Morgan said.

“I don’t believe it’s a hardship on anybody,” he said about the higher rates.

The new rate structure also includes $4.50 per 1,000 gallons for water haulers and $4 per 1,000 gallons for agriculture/farm users.

Morgan and the Town Board also declined to charge users a quarterly water meter fee.

The board also approved revisions to policies and procedures in the water department. Water meters now must always be hooked up by town personnel at hydrants.

Some residents complained last year that some meters used by farmers and other users were put on by the users, and not town employees.

The town will now put on all meters and won’t charge the users the first time. However, there will be a $50 charge each time thereafter the meter is put on.

Some farmers will use public water during dry spells. They might then want the meter back on again a few days or weeks after irrigating a field.

They will now have to pay the $50 to have the meter put back on, or they can keep the meter on at a hydrant for several days or weeks.

However, if the meter is stolen, the farmer or other user will be responsible for paying the town $1,500 for a replacement. Morgan said a meter has only been stolen once, about 20 years ago.

The new policies and procedures give the town more control in the water system, and follows state health regulations, Morgan said.

Morgan and the Town Board were praised by resident Joe Sidonio for the revised procedures.

“I think it’s admirable,” Sidonio said about the changes. “Thanks for hearing our voice.”

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