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Port Henry water rates to increase in November

— Port Henry residents will pay more for water beginning in November.

The village’s “water law,” which was adopted in April, takes effect. Besides increasing water rates, it also adds provisions for village water service.

Discounts for large-volume water users have been eliminated; all users will be billed the same rate per thousand gallons of water usage.

“Although the rates are higher, the elimination of this discount is viewed as a fairer system for all users,” village officials said in a prepared statement. “The minimum bill for water consumption for metered users has increased from $71 to $98.50 for the six-month billing period. Similar increases have been implemented for flat-rate (non-metered) customers.”

The increase in rates is necessary because of increased expenses, trustees said. Operation costs have increased each year without corresponding rate changes. The increases impact the water rates and water debt fee only. The water debt fee has increased by $12.

The sewer rates and sewer debt fees which are billed at the same time will remain the same.

The new law also makes home owners or occupants responsible for providing a current meter reading.

“The village crew will continue to visit each metered location during October, but if they are unable to obtain a reading, the property owner or occupant is required to reschedule a visit or to notify the village of the current reading,” trustees said.

If a valid meter reading is not obtained, the new law allows for a “no meter reading available” rate of $236. In addition, there may be a $100 fee added to each billing cycle that a meter reading is not obtained or provided.

“The village hopes that all metered accounts will be read or that valid readings will be provided by property owners,” the village board noted. “The village would rather have complete and accurate meter readings than to have to collect the higher ‘no-meter’ rates and the $100 penalty.

“The village intends to replace all existing old meters with a newer design that can be read from a touch-pad on the outside of each building,” trustees said. “These meters will also be installed at locations that are currently unmetered, resulting in more complete and accurate readings, reduced costs of obtaining meter readings and a fairer billing system for all customers.”

A copy of the current rate schedule is available at the village office. Copies of the complete “water law” are also available.

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