Niagara Gazette


February 4, 2013

Lewiston supervisor says water rates are all wrong


Niagara Gazette — One of the toughest parts of any decision the village makes is concerning the actual infrastructure. If the village did agree to the change, the move would require a public referendum because the village would hand control of the actual water delivery system over to the town. Village department of public works employees would no longer be allowed to repair main breaks and all other issues would need to be reported to the town. Billing and other aspects of the water department would also be handled through the town.

Village officials recently questioned whether residents saving small amounts of money on water bills would be worthwhile if it meant handing over control of the system's parts to the town.

However, the village also knows it has an issue with its sewer system, which has been increasing in cost over the last few years and recently forced the village to increase its sewer rates. The problem is with aging and leaking lines, which leach water, causing residents to pay more than they should.

The village may have to hand over control of the water system in order to, in the future, convince the town to take over the sewers as well.

"The sewers are a problem, we know that," Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland said. "We're working on that for next year."

Village Trustee Dennis Brochey said he'd rather not give up water control and would like to see if the town would consider just taking the sewers under its wing.

"When I was campaigning, one of the biggest issues I heard was sewer rates," he said. "We know there is an issue with the sewers. I would rather keep the water and let's talk to (the town) about ways to lower the sewer rate."

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