Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

February 4, 2013

Lewiston supervisor says water rates are all wrong

Niagara Gazette — Lewiston Town Supervisor Steve Reiter says the Village of Lewiston is providing false data to residents concerning town water rates.

Reiter, who also serves as the town's water department chief, said a recent claim by village Engineer Richard San Giacomo about town water rates was incorrect and, should the village choose to hand water control over to the town, village residents would save a lot more money than was originally reported.

"I don't know where they got their information, but they're wrong," Reiter said.

The error, Reiter said, is in a quoted figure given by San Giacomo, originally reported in the Jan. 23 edition of the Niagara Gazette. San Giacomo said at the Village Board a household valued at $100,000 using 6,400 cubic feet of water would pay $213.05 if the town assumed control of the system.

But Reiter claims town residents currently pay $160.97 using the same amount of water San Giacomo used in his assessment. This includes a $0.49 per $1,000 assessed value tax – or $49 – of the property assessed to all residents.

And that's not the only error San Giacomo made, Reiter said. The town also has a policy which allows residents to have water service halted should they leave for an extended period of time. San Giacomo originally said "snowbirds" would be required to pay the town a base fee of $14.90 every two months no matter the usage figures. In San Giacomo's calculations, he said village residents who leave would pay $173 for water every year under town control, as opposed to $79.40 with the village.

Reiter said San Giacomo's claim of residents paying more than $90 extra per year is completely wrong.

"All they have to do is call the town and have their water shut off," Reiter said. "They won't be charged if they do."

The two municipalities have been working to consolidate water services for months and have yet to get on the same page. They'd scheduled a joint meeting last Monday to continue discussions, but Mayor Terry Collesano was still recovering from surgery and the meeting was cancelled. It is unknown whether the meeting will be rescheduled, though village officials previously set a deadline of February for making the final decision.

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