By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Dan Nason, Department of Public Works director, provided an informational overview of the recently completed Water and Sewer Rate Study at the Northborough Board of Selectmen’s meeting Aug. 15.
Selectman Chair William Pantanzis said “everything we do here is about process, information and transparency.”
Nason was accompanied by the author of the study, Christopher Woodcock, president of Woodcock & Associates, Inc. He informed the board that he is not proposing any water rate increase for this year.
“There is a healthy fund balance…and we are looking to use that for stability and predictability for future projects in the capital improvement plan,” Nason said.
Regarding sewer, he expects a 20-percent increase for fiscal year 2017 as was the case the last few years due to the improvements and expansion of the Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Marlborough. Concurrently, a new Inter-Municipal Agreement (IMA) between Northborough and Marlborough is needed to determine the allocation of future capacity and operating costs. Part of the delay is the renewal of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit for the plant.
Marlborough has issued permanent bonds to fund the $30 million expansion and upgrade and the board was reminded of the potential for a significant “assessment” from Marlborough. The 20-percent rate increase this year, and in years to come, will provide cushion for that eventuality.
Selectman Dawn Rand reminded residents to direct their questions or concerns to the Department of Public Works.
Town Administrator John Corderre explained, “the purpose of tonight’s meeting is informational as the chairman pointed out … We have telegraphed out for years that the water and sewer treatment plant in Marlborough where our water actually goes, that when that project is completed and capital assessments for it as well as the increased operational costs are known it will necessitate rates to increase significantly …There is nothing that the town of Northborough is doing to drive these rates up. It’s really the regulatory framework in which we have to operate as well as the upgrades needed.”