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New Water and Sewer Rates Approved by Selectmen

Brookline Board of Selectmen approved altered Water and Sewer rates from the DPW.

Over the last two Board of Selectmen's meetings, Andrew Pappistergion, Commissioner of the Department of Public Works (DPW), rates, and . The intent is to combat rising costs and decreasing sales of water by the DPW.

Based on the feedback from last week, Pappistergion commented, "We went back, sharpened our pencils, and took a look at the methodology."

The original two-tiered option triggered the new block rates at 800 cubic-feet of water used. Pappistergion cited Chapel Street Resident Tommy Vitolo, who suggested a lower trigger for the rates. With pencils sharp, the DPW and the Committee working on this returned with a new two-tiered rate at 700 cubic-feet. 

By lowering this threshold, the new rates wound up being cheaper than in the previous plan, even in multi-unit homes. Buildings with multiple families were ending up with higher rates than single-family homes under the previous plan, and Vitolo was concerned about this at last week's meeting. The new numbers from the DPW actually divide costs to multi-unit homes by the number of units to determine how much is being paid per residence.

Under this new structure, for example, the DPW estimates that the residents of 20 Chapel Street, Vitolo's home, would spend about $106.91 per quarter, while a comparable, average home would spend about $108.50. Under the original proposed rate structure, the multi-family home would spend $108.23, and the single-family would be at $101.90. They also estimate that the average single-family home in Brookline, using water at an average rate, would spend $355.25 per quarter. 

The recommendation, therefore, was to adopt this new, lower-blocked rate. When it came to a vote, it was unanimously adopted by the Board of Selectmen.

At a previous meeting, resident Mark Cooper did observe a paradox of encouraging water users to conserve water, but also charging them more. 

"The truth about water rates is that they’re going to go up. The weird thing is that they will go up despite us using less." Chair of the Board of Selectmen, Betsy DeWitt addressed the comment. "Regardless of how much we use, costs will be the same, so every participant in the water system has to pay more to use it."

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