Council Hikes Water, Sewer Fees

OSWEGO, NY – “This is positively something that I didn’t want to be the last thing that I did as mayor,” Tom Gillen said Monday night. “But, we’re caught between a rock and a hard place.”

With Council President Eric VanBuren absent, Gillen was forced to cast the deciding vote whether to increase water and sewer rates for Oswego taxpayers.

The voted tied with three ‘yes’ (councilors Pat McLaughlin, Mike Todd and Shawn Walker) and three ‘no’ votes (councilors Fran Enwright, Billy Barlow and Ron Kaplewicz). The mayor voted ‘yes.’

The add-on resolution, which was presented at the end of the meeting, would help raise the $1.5 million necessary for the bond payments for the city’s required water and sewer improvements.

It was recently discovered that the city didn’t have sufficient funds in the sewer enterprise fund to cover the cost of the upcoming work.

According to the resolution: “The current water and sewer rate schedule shall be abandoned and be replaced with the following rate schedule: flat rate water shall be $75/quarter and flat rate sewer shall be $200/quarter. Metered water base rate shall be $55/quarter for the first 10,000 gallons or 1,337 cubic feet and usage over the base rate shall be billed at $1.50 per 1,000 gallons or $1.50 per 134 cubic feet. Metered sewer base rate shall be $150/quarter for the first 10,000 gallons or 1,337 cubic feet and usage over the base shall be billed at $5 per 1,000 gallons or 134 cubic feet. The new water and sewer rates shall be applied to all accounts on the current schedule.”

Gillen called the hike the reasonable thing to do rather than burdening the incoming administration with the controversy.

Councilor Todd agreed.

“I apologize for it. I’m not happy with it. But, we don’t have any option,” he said.

The three councilors who voted no sought to find other options and questioned why the voted needed to be taken Monday night.

“What’s the rush?” Enwright asked. “I think this needs a little more work.”

He also cited the negative impact the increase would have on residents trying to make ends meet on a fixed income.


  1. Are these people insane? Get lost Gillen! I know the real reasons behind this entire water/sewer fiasco from the beginning of it & once I’m moved out of this town(house going back to bank), I will expose it with all names of those involved who caused it. $275/qtr???!!! FOR REAL???!!!

  2. I feel bad for you property owners in the City of Oswego….last year after they raised taxes by 50% they laid off some workers. Then they ‘found’ ‘extra’ money in the sewer account that they used to keep those laid off workers. Then last night they found out they needed that money this coming year for mandated work and are raising your water and sewer rates. “BOCHICA” sums it up.

  3. How much more tax burden can you put on the residents of the city? People find it hard to make ends meet now and then you raise the water/sewage fees again? You want people to locate in Oswego and raise their families here. There are no jobs and with the loss of over 600 jobs from the Fitzpatrick plant looming over our heads it looks like Oswego just might turn into a ghost town. Once again our council and mayor sticks it to the taxpayers. It should prove interesting to see what Mr. Barlow can do to help the city. There is a lot of inexperience coming on board this coming year on the council. Stay tuned we may all have to get 2nd and 3rd jobs to live in Oswego. I agree with Mike. BOHICA

  4. I for one think they should had waited till the first of the year. I guess the out going mayor was pissed he lost his job. With all the taxes with the last few years most people in Oswego can’t afford this new tax at all. The flat rate should be cheaper than the meter rates. But then you get the slumlords that have 6 or more people living in one house on the flat rate and they make a killing. This new fee should be voided out by the incoming mayor and council. But they most likely will leave it as is.

  5. Robert, please enlighten us now. It’s obvious something is very wrong. I agree with Fran Enwright: what was the rush???. Was it because the new administration would have found a way to avoid “dumping” on the taxpayers again??

  6. Way to stick it to us on your way out mayor Gillen. This is horrible! There was no reason to do this to us so quickly! How convenient YOU had the deciding vote !
    They say to use money to update the waterway (economic development) and make it look more inviting, to bring in the people and businesses. Well there won’t be anyone left to shop those businesses! No one is going to want to relocate to Oswego. The cost is way to high !
    The new administration coming in will have the power to change these problems!
    Fix this before this beautiful city is nothing but a ghost town! We are on a fixed income as are many, we cannot afford this !!

  7. Where in the hell is it all going to stop? Astronomical City Taxes, Out of his Universe School Taxes, (thanks to teachers doing 80% voting) An increase in County Taxes, $181.13 a year for a dump sticker! Do these people realize that we have other things that we have to pay for in order to make a living? We have Mortgages/Rent to pay each month, outrageous Cable Fees, Auto Loans, Health Ins. premiums, for our families, The Credit Cards that we need to use just to keep up! And try feeding a family every day! Then they say Save for Retirement! How can anyone save when everything is TAKE TAKE TAKE ! Would the last one to leave Oswego please turn out the lights!

  8. What do we get for this newest increase? Nothing. I bought my house 10 years ago and my water/sewer bill has more than doubled in that time. Yet, my water pressure is no where close to being what it was at that time. I also remember (I believe) that one of the previous water/sewer hikes was to fix the water treatment plant. Wasn’t that enough? I can’t continue to afford these types of increases being imposed by the city. They just raised my taxes again, last year. How is a homeowner supposed to survive in this city?

  9. This is beyond disgraceful. The tax base is leaner and the burden on the average working people has reached the breaking point ! I can’t pay my bills now…I work 40 plus hours a week and there is not enough to go around…..We should not be responsible for the mismanagement of the water dept. over the last 50 years. I seriously think the time for out-houses is going to return… Should not cost almost $100 a month for basic water and sewage……I have nothing left to give………

  10. Mike Myers was behind the initial hikes because he didnt want the college sewage when they built their new housing. So the College has stopped contributing to the cost of sewage to keep our rates down.

  11. I had a shop in town for 15 years i paid $1000.00 a year to flush the toilet .

    Wait till the $15.00 a hour min wage comes not just the food workers. $600.00 a week, it wont stop there.
    some kid with no skills mowing your grass 20-25 hour
    Skilled labor starts a $50.00 an hour.

  12. I cannot wait to move out this city. Very sad what it’s become, Thank you Mayor Gillen for one last punch in the gut on your way out the door. You want people to come to this great city and settle yet nobody can afford to because eveything has been hiked up twice as much within the last few years. It didn’t have to be decided that night, there’s was still time to look at other options but that’s how Gillen rolls, doesn’t really care about the people that live in this city.

  13. Once again, I agree. This did not have to be decided this week. I believe it was discussed and decided upon prior to the meeting. Retirees are obviously not wanted in Oswego, particularly if their incomes are fixed.

  14. Enough is Enough!! The ‘average’ homeowner is going to truly suffer to make this payment, are you kidding me? This creates a domino effect- the resulting downward spiral, foreclosures, and empty homes as people are stampeding out of Oswego-the city where the water never ends! I can only hope the new administration with Mr. Barlow rescinds this idiotic hike in water/sewer fees. When I bought my home the water/sewer bill was $35.00!!! This was NOT THAT LONG AGO! Someone must investigate this outrage and put a stop to the thieving that IS OSWEGO.

  15. Next year will be the last payment from Metropolitan Water. So what will our city officials do then? This entire mess we are in is the result of selling the water tunnel. This tax hike needs to be rescinded at the first council meeting. It’s time to either privatize the water department or offer it to Onondaga County. It’s apparent the city can no longer afford to be in the water business.

  16. This is all just another way of getting a jump on putting money in the “kitty” before they lose all those tax $$$ from Fitzpatrick! They will just take more in 2017 2018 2019 and for all those who still haven’t vacated good old Oswego, 2020 2021 2022 2023…………. It will then be known “Where the taxes & fees never end!

  17. Yes! The city does get tax as a result of Fitzpatrick, just look at all the tax money the city will lose through all the tax money that business brings to the city, no refueling outages means empty Hotels and Motels. Resturants and Dinners business will be cut. The money the workers pay through taxes in more ways than one! So don’t say the City doesn’t get any tax money VIA Fitzpatrick! The City will lose Mega dollars as a result of Fitzpatrick and how do you think the City will make this up? They will raise taxes 5% every year and if they need more there is no cap on the Water/Sewer fund!

  18. With no increase in Social Security in 2016 how in the hell are us senior citizens suppose to pay for all these taxes and fees and still be able to afford to live in Oswego?

Comments are closed.