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Water Fund

It is the responsibility of the Department of Public Works – Water Division to maintain a consistent and adequate flow of water to the City from the City’s water source at Berlin Pond. A new state of the art Water Treatment Plant was completed in fiscal year 2001.

User fees fund the Water Division. Water staff maintain hydrants for fire protection, construct water lines, maintain control valves and gates, flush hydrants annually, keep daily records on water quality and consumption, repair leaks and mains, operate the water treatment facility, oversee land management of the City’s property in Berlin and support all systems associated with providing potable water to our customers. There are more than 3,000 water meters in the City of Montpelier and each meter is read quarterly.

The Montpelier City Council, sitting as the Water & Sewer Commissioners, determines water rates. Water rates are reviewed annually in the spring. We welcome your input in establishing these rates. Water rates increased substantially in the fiscal year 2006. Rates have increased 5% each year on July 1, 2007, July 1, 2008 and on July 1, 2009. It is expected that utility rates will be adjusted annually due to increases in maintenance, chemical, fuel, electricity costs and debt payments. The current quarterly rates are as follows: $7.51 per 1,000 for the first 50,000 gallons, $7.97 per 1,000 for the next 200,000 gallons, $12.93 per 1,000 for over 250,000 gallons and a fixed charge for all accounts for meter reading, billing and other administrative service costs of $25.00.

Annual water usage decreased more than 9 percent over the last three years. This conservation of water use by the city residents and businesses is producing shortfalls in revenue for the Water Fund. The City Council’s Water and Sewer Rate Committee will be meeting in April, 2010 to consider future rate increases that may be necessary to cover prior year deficits caused in part by reduced water usage.

In September, 2009 the City Manager announced in a press release the City made a $462,000 overpayment on a water line improvement project in 2004. Although some of the funds were recovered, the City was unable to collect a large portion of the overpayment. Since September, the City filed an insurance claim with the Vermont League of Cities & Towns related to this error. The City was notified in December that the city’s insurance policy will cover the remaining balance due from the overpayment. The users of the Water Fund will not be charged fees to cover this overpayment.

The Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Information about the proposed Water Department Budget can be found online at: http://www.montpelier-vt.org/upload/pages/375/files/fy11_proposed-budget_water-fund.pdf. For Budget questions, please contact the Finance Department at 223-9520. If you have a concern or question about your quarterly water bill, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 262-6265.

SANDRA J. GALLUP,
Finance Director

 


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