The Metropolitan District Commission – the group that sets the price of water in the Greater Hartford Area – met for hours Monday night to hammer out a proposed rate increase.
The proposed budget included raising the water rate 14.5 % but after a long discussion, the MDC board dropped that number to 13.5 %.
The current cost of $3.50 per 100 cubic feet will now rise to $3.97, .after pushback from the proposed amount of just over $4- which means the average water bill will see a yearly increase of $59 for member towns and $47 for non member towns.
The budget also calls for adding an extra dollar to sewer rates, increasing from $6 per month to $7 per month.
Over the past two years the water rate has risen roughly 25%, which is why many residents are concerned about another increase.
“We’ve watched our water bill go from $20,000 in 2012 to next year's projected to be $52,000 and this is a complex with 120 units,” Newington resident Anna Eddi said.
Lawmakers from impacted areas such as West Hartford, Bloomfield, South Windsor Newington and Rocky Hill are speaking out against rising costs.
“It’s unsustainable and it comes on the heels of an 11% increase the year before, so we’re talking about 25% in two years and about 50% over the last five years it’s too much for consumers,” State Sen. Derek Slap said.
The MDC said the increase is due to declining revenues as water consumption continues to decrease .
“if we do nothing the water system will fall apart and instead of building new pipes we’ll be replacing sections of pipe by feet for the same exact cost” MDC CEO Scott Jellison said.
In order to make that 13.5% increase work instead of 14.5%, that money has to come from somewhere else. Therefore, the MDC will cut almost $700,000 from the recreation areas it runs -- including the Riverfront Recapture along the Connecticut river in Hartford.
The new water rates take effect beginning January of 2020.