Oswego Mayor Proposes New Sewer Rate Schedule

Mayor Billy Barlow explains his sewer rate schedule plan to the councilors.

Mayor Billy Barlow explains his sewer rate schedule plan to the councilors.

OSWEGO, NY – The sewer rate schedule that was adopted by the Common Council in December 2015 didn’t create parity between low-volume users and high-volume users, Mayor Billy Barlow said Monday night.

Mayor Billy Barlow explains his sewer rate schedule plan to the councilors.
Mayor Billy Barlow explains his sewer rate schedule plan to the councilors.

A typical residential property would be expected to use about 20,000 gallons of water per quarter and would be charged $200 for such usage under the current rate schedule. That amounts to a rate if $10 per 1,000 gallons, the mayor noted.

High end users would be charged about $5 under the current rate schedule.

According to the 2015 resolution: “… 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.”

“I am recommending a modification to the sewer rate schedule that addresses this disparity,” the mayor said Monday night. “Our goal is to alleviate some of the pressure for our homeowners and to get our heavier users to pay their fair share.”

The change won’t affect homeowners, the mayor said, adding, “Obviously we don’t want to hurt small businesses in town” like small restaurants, for example.

They went through and found some thresholds there were comfortable with, which would only affect the heavier users, he explained.

Under the mayor’s proposal would keep be $150/quarter for the first 10,000 gallons, But the next 240,000 gallons would be $5 per thousand; 600,000 gallons would be $7.50 per thousand; anything over 850,000 gallons would be $10 per thousand.

The average person uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water a day. So if three people use 75 gallons a day, for a quarter, it would be 20,000 gallons, the mayor said. So an individual would pay about $10 per thousand.

“I think this is a strategic way to really rule out homeowners and get the big users to pay their fair share,” the mayor said.

Councilor Shawn Walker said he was in favor of helping take some of the burden off homeowners.

Councilor Pat McLaughlin, who asked the mayor early this year to look into ways of reducing the cost to homeowners, agreed.

“I’d like to thank the mayor for doing this and keeping his word to me,” McLaughlin said. “Good job. I’m 100 percent for this.”

“This is a very fair and equitable solution to this,” Councilor Robert Corradino added.

Councilor John Gosek asked what happens if large apartment complexes have to pay more?

“They are billed as a business,” City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli explained. “How they’d pass that on to their tenants is up to them.”

The committee sent the proposal to the full council for consideration.

If approved, the following metered sewer rate schedule shall take effect with all sewer bills issued after June 1, 2016: Metered sewer base rate shall be $150 for the first 10,000 gallons or 1,337 cubic feet; the next 240,000 gallons of usage shall be $5 per 1,000 gallons or $3.75 per 100 cubic feet for the next 32,000 cubic feet; the next 600,000 gallons at $7.50 per thousand or $5.62 per 100 cubic feet for the next 80,000 cubic feet; and all usage over 850,000 gallons at $10 per thousand or all usage over 113,337 cubic feet at $7.50 per 100 cubic feet.

In other business:

The council will reconsider a resolution passed weeks ago – approving a contract to use herbicides to control weed growth at various sites around the Port City.

Several residents have spoken out recently on the dangers posed by using such chemicals.

Spraying was set to begin Monday, but was postponed due to the inclement weather.

At next week’s meeting, councilors will reconsider the resolution and the potential ramifications of amending or rescinding the resolution.

Check back later for more details.

7 Comments

  1. How about getting this thing back to $64/qtr. un-metered like it was when I moved into this place??

  2. My Mom is an 87 year old who has lived in the same home for over 50 years now. The current rate for water and sewer is ridiculously high and puts a tremendous burden on older people, on a fixed income. I am pleased that this current Mayor is taking a stand on this situation and trying to compensate for the disparity between high volume water and sewer users and those people, like my Mom, who use practically nothing, yet pay the same amount. i would also like to see a reduced rate for senior citizens.

  3. At least this mayor has finally gone public about this sewer rate thing and offered something up but my rates are way too high at 275 a quarter and they’re never going to go down from the looks of things and so I am soon going to be looking to leave this town. I’m sure I’m not the only one. If I were mayor, I would tell the DEC to go to hell. This sewer problem is decades old and it’s not right to try to force the cost of a quick solution on the very few taxpayers left in this city. We simply can’t afford it.

  4. That’s the problem R! Past administrations did just that – they ignored the DEC’s order. It finally came down to the certainty that the city would be heavily fined by the DEC and the EPA if the sewer problem wasn’t taken care of. They’ve known about this problem for over a decade. Nobody likes it, but unless the state and the feds come up with a whole lot of grant money, it’s on the backs of the sewage system users.

  5. IF YOU HAVE A METER, THERE SHOULD BE NO MINIMUM!
    ONLY BILL FOR WHAT IS USED!

    PEOPLE WITH METERS WILL CONSERVE WATER
    SAVING THE CITY MONEY IN THE LONG RUN

    THIS PLAN ABOVE DOES NOT SAVE A SINGLE HOMEOWNER WITH A METER ANYTHING, EVER. I HAVE TO PAY THE SAME MINIMUM AS A FAMILY.

  6. I agree, I am a single person living in my house, a shower daily and a few dishes and maybe two loads of laundry a week.Remember what goes in comes out, so if I use 785 for 3 months, then only 785 will come out into sewer.I bought and paid a man to install my water meter to save money. I think you need to give a break to low users, 205.00 a quarter is way too much,820.00 a year and can’t even deduct on taxes.

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