Water, sewer rate hike sought

New London - The water and sewer authority will be looking for a rate increase next year to cover contractual obligations in its proposed $11.1 million budget.

The Water & Water Pollution Control Authority is proposing a 5 percent increase in water rates and a 7 percent increase in sewer rates. The average homeowner would pay about $35 more for water and sewer services.

"We don't like to increase our rates, but at the same time our costs this year are not the same as they were last year,'' said Barry Weiner, chairman of the authority.

Even with the proposed rate increase, New London customers still would pay less than customers in other towns in the region, according to a survey by Joseph Lanzafame, utility director.

The proposed water budget of $5.8 million is about $100,000 less than the current year. The proposed sewer budget remains the same at $5.3 million. Weiner said the utility company has cut costs but revenues are also down.

The utility provides water and sewer services to about 14,000 customers in New London, Waterford and East Lyme. Lake Konomoc in Waterford processes about 6 million gallons of drinking water a day. The sewer plant in New London treats about 8 million gallons of wastewater a day.

The City Council is reviewing all city budgets, including the Water Pollution Control Authority's proposed 2012-13 spending plan, which is funded entirely with water and sewer fees.

If the budget is approved as presented, the authority will propose the rate increase and hold public hearings. The council must approve the rate increase.

Last year, the council approved a 10 percent increase in water rates and a 15 percent increase in sewer rates. The cost of new connections to the system and hydrant fees also would go up by 25 percent.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

WATER & SEWER BILLS

Annual water and sewer service costs, based on 195 gallons a day

New London: $549

East Lyme: $745

Waterford: $747

Groton: $831

Norwich: $1,073

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