Wastewater Fee Increases
Last week, I provided a link to the New York Times story on the rising costs of water infrastructure maintenance. While that story touches upon drinking water, it very much applies to the matter of sewage, or wastewater. Costs for maintaining sewage infrastructure will also keep rising over the next decade, and a local municipality is learning the hardship of raising fees. The Express Times reported today that many Bethlehem Township residents were surprised to see a hike in their wastewater bill.
Patrick Kolis was shocked when he received his first-quarter sewer bill two weeks ago. His usual $125 bill was nearly $190, more than 50 percent higher.
The township resident called the municipal building to find out why. Kolis learned that, in December, township commissioners voted to raise the sewer rates by 40 percent.
“That’s a huge increase, especially in this economic time,” he said.
The township contracts sewer service with both the city of Bethlehem and the Easton Suburban Water Authority, which dictate much of the township’s sewer costs, officials said.
Last year, Bethlehem raised its consumption rate by almost 27 percent, which contributed to Bethlehem Township’s increased costs both last year and this year, township Finance Director Andy Freda said. Township sewer rates also increased 25 percent from 2008 to 2009.
As mentioned in the Times article, this is a necessary cost. All infrastructure has a shelf life, and unfortunately, much of the underground piping has reached its expiration date. What are your thoughts on the fee increases?