Water rates to rise for Berwick customers

By JEAN L. KAESS

Water rates for Berwick residents will rise in coming months if final approval by the council is given.

Berwick Mayor Louis Ratcliff said rates have not risen in eight years, but costs have increased by 40 percent, spurring the introduction of an ordinance Tuesday. It not only elevates rates, but creates a new set of assessments for commercial users who resell water or use the water to make a product for resale.

The new section of the ordinance applies to “any business that uses water obtained from the town and resells the water (e.g. fuel dock, ice house, seafood dock, car wash, service station or other similar uses) or uses the water to make a product for resale (e.g. oil field service company, cement company or other similar users),” the ordinance states, adding that these definitions shall be liberally interpreted.

For these services, rates will be $15 for the first 3,000 gallons per month and $4.95 for each 1,000 gallons or a fraction thereafter. The minimum charge each month is $15.

Residential customers can expect their charges to increase from $7.10 for the first 3,000 gallons to $10, which is the minimum. After 3,000 gallons, for each 1,000 gallons, customers will pay $4.25 per unit, up from the current $3.11, if the measure is approved.

Outside of the town’s incorporated area, those served by Berwick’s water works will go from paying $7.35 for the first 3,000 gallons to $12.50 per month. After that, each 1,000 gallons utilized will cost $4.75, up from $3.36.

In other action, the Berwick Town Council:

—Approved a resolution providing certifications to the Office of Community Development for a water meter improvement project on Pharr and Francis streets in the amount of $35,000.

—Expanded its agenda to grant a right-of-way for an additional 15 feet on Fairview Drive to access the walking trail and associated facilities.

—Learned from Reid Miller of Miller Engineers that work on Renwick Subdivision has slowed slightly due to weather but remains close to schedule.

—Heard residents may see employees of an engineering firm in their yards on Mount Street due to surveying for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.

—Heard from the St. Mary Council on Aging which noted a clean audit for its recent fiscal year but saw drastic budget cuts and resulting service cuts.

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