Shrewsbury – Water rates, specifically the costs for businesses versus residential users, ?was discussed at a public hearing held during the Board of Selectmen's Sept. 11 meeting.
Town Manager Daniel Morgado had requested the hearing.
“I's in the water-selling business. I want to sell 3.91 million gallons of water a day,” he told the selectmen.
Using a complex series of charts and graphs showing rates since 1991 against four alternative proposed changes, Morgado presented a cascade of plans aimed at both maximizing the money the town can collect for water/sewer use and trying to ensure fairness for users. The alternatives presented by Morgado would increase revenue for the town by between $178,500 and $429,300 a year.
Since 1991, residential water rates have increased approximately 300 percent while rates for commercial users have risen 40 percent.
Resident John Lukach, representing the Precinct 2 voters, said that difference in increased costs was not fair to residential users. He also asked why, if the town is now in compliance with state water management rules, the residents would have to bear the brunt of any additional rate increases.
Other questions and comments from residents included how much an average residential water bill was and how would the potential increase affect senior citizens and those who live alone. Morgado said he did not know what the average bill was but noted that town rates are very favorable to those residents who use the least amount of water per quarter – less than 8,000 gallons. He added that the daily commercial water use in town was 357,000 gallons compared to 1,700,000 gallons for residents.
Board chair Maurice DePalo stated that water conservation should also be a consideration when setting rates. He added that the few town residents who use huge amounts of water for lawn and landscaping maintenance should bear more of a cost burden.
The board voted to postpone the hearing to a future date to allow the members to have time to consider the different options present by Morgado.