With no public discussion, the Plattsburgh Common Council passed new water and sewer rates Thursday that take effect in January.
The new rate schedule will be based on metered consumption, with heavy consumers paying a higher monthly rate, while lower-level consumers could see a decrease. Water customers will now pay a fixed fee of $7.61 for the first 3,000 gallons, a decrease of 7 cents. At the same time, rates for the next 14,000 gallons will cost the user 7 cents more — or $6.27.
Monthly fees on meters will go up, according the schedule. A 5/8-inch meter with a 3,000 gallon allowance will now cost a minimum of $23.84, up from $23.08.
The new rates will apply to bills beginning January 1, 2020.
According to environmental manager Jonathan Ruff, the new rates will help balance the city’s water fund, which has been operating at a deficit of about $600,000 per year.
The council also approved a new anti-idling policy for city vehicles to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. There are exceptions for police. Councilor Rachelle Armstrong, who proposed the policy, was asked why the policy doesn’t apply to all vehicles in the city.
“We’re a very small entity, five square miles,” she said, “and it might cause a little bit of difficulty with incoming vehicles having to adhere to a policy specific to a small entity.
Mayor Colin Read also announced the city will begin using a cloud-based software, OpenGov, to store the city’s financial data in one place. The tool allows staff members to update the information in real time, and makes it easily accessible to the public.
OpenGov should be fully implemented next month, Read said, adding that city staff are confident the information within it is accurate.
“We’re optimistic that when all the finances close this year, we’re going to be left with probably a larger surplus this year than we anticipated,” the mayor said while examining the revenue and expense figures within the software.