The reason for the increase is because the current sewer plant is functioning beyond the number of years it was designed to; it has been running for 34 years and was only meant for 30. Therefore, the increase in rates, from $10 for the first 4,000 gallons and $2,80 for each 1,000 gallons above that to $15 for the first 4,000 gallons and $4.80 for every 1,000 gallons above that.
The extra money raised by the increase will pay for some major upgrades and renovations.
Members of the public were allowed to ask questions at the end of the meeting. One person asked if, after this increase goes into effect, will there be another increase a few years down the road and if the amount it is being raised is sufficient. Mayor David Carr said he could not make any guarantees because of the economy, but “we hope it won’t, let’s put it that way.”
“It is sufficient for now,” Village Treasurer Rebecca Paternosh said.
Another question raised was if the village was going to ask its residents to conserve water. Carr responded he was not sure high the reservoir level was currently, noting that it has been dry recently.
One audience member asked if factories and industries were going to see an increase in their rates. Paternosh explained processors are bill based on usage and business are charged at the same rate as residents. The resident also asked for clarification that the rate increase will not only cover repairs and upgrades, but wages and administrative costs as well. Carr said she was correct.
Finally, a question was asked regarding what will happen when old water lines will need to be replaced and if money was currently being put aside. Carr said there will probably be an increase in water rates, but that the village is in the process of working out glitches to the new automated meter reading system and once that is done, the village will look at an increase to water rates.
It was pointed out that no tax dollars go into the waste water treatment plant.
Carr listed the following improvements which have either already been made or will be made to the sewage treatment plant:
• LED lights were installed in the waste water treatment plant which use less power;
• a new waste oil burning heater was installed at the sewage press building, using waste oil generated by various departments;
• items for both the water and waste water plants are being purchased in larger quantities to reduce the cost;
• some chemicals have been adjusted to reduce the quantity used while maintaining balance required by DEC;
• a grant to allow the village to compost the sludge rather than haul it to a landfill has been applied for which could reduce landfill fees by almost $90,000 per year.
With the rate increase approved unanimously, the new rates will take effect in September.
The Code Enforcement Department reported it will removing Southern Tier Electrical Inspection from being allowed to perform electrical inspections in 30 days if they do not correct their issues.
“Every community’s having the same problem,” Jim Backnowski, noting Jamestown and the Town of Chautauqua have both already stopped allowing STEI to perform inspections.
Venn Blakely gave an update regarding the Recreation Department, saying “everything is being heavily used this summer.”
Carr complimented the Westfield Police Department on raising over $560 at its bike auction, with the proceeds going to the Westfield Farmer’s Market.
“I appreciate that,” he said.
He also complimented the two officers who helped bring a kidnapping incident in Barcelona to a successful conclusion. Both Carr and Westfield Police Chief Rob Genther have written letters of commendation.
“I’d like to publicly thank them for doing what they did,” Carr said.
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Photo by Jenna Loughlin
Members of the Westfield Village Board of Trustees take a look at the village’s new Digger Derrick truck for digging holes for poles which arrived in July, replacing the last truck from 1997.
The new sewer rates for the Village of Westfield were incorrectly reported to, and thus incorrectly printed in the Aug. 11 edition of, this newspaper.
The new sewer rate is $15 for the customer charge and $4.50 per 1,000 gallons. The old rate was $10 for the customer charge and $2.80 per 1,000 gallons. The new rates were effective July 18 and customers will see the increase in their bill starting at the end of September.