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Larchmont Board Weighs Water Rate Hikes

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- The 5.5 percent water rate increase for the next two fiscal years, proposed at the Larchmont Board of Trustees meeting, would prepare the village for the costs of looming capitol projects and future repairs on a vulnerable system, says the board.

In 2010, Larchmont had the rising costs of the New York City water supply system to contend with, resulting in the board approving a 35 percent hike. Going forward, they have funding repairs for an aging water system susceptible to leaks and three capitol projects to contend with, warned village treasurer Dennis Brucianni.

"If the infrastructure of the water system is aging and based on its age, becomes vulnerable to leaks, that may be costly," said Brucianni, who estimated water leaks between January and March this year forced the village to spend $168,550 to buy about 41.64 million additional gallons of water. "Currently the fund balance does not provide a cushion for such a contingency of water leaks."

Currently, the water fund balance is $14,556, Brucianni said. A 5.5 percent hike would result in an 83.5 percent increase, bringing it from $116,350 if the village keeps the rates as they are now, to $213,512.

The village faces another challenge in funding three capitol projects, which include replacing the water meters at an estimated cost of $500,000, replacing the hydro-pneumatic tank, as well as Larchmont's two water storage tanks. The latter two projects could cost as much as $1 million, which Brucianni said isn't inconceivable.

"The water fund also does not have a provision in its fund balance, as it exists today, for capitol expenditures," Brucianni said. “The proposed water rate increase of 5.5 percent permits the village to build a contingency within the water fund balance."

None of the projects have been given an official start date. The board will consider the 5.5 percent water rate increase at their next meeting Sept. 26.

What do you think about the proposed increase in the water rate? Comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter .

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