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Public hearing on sewer rate increase set for Tuesday

LAKE PLACID — The Village Board of Trustees is proposing an increase to the village’s sewer rates starting Aug. 1, partially because the village plans to make more than $7 million in upgrades to its sewer plant.

Village Treasurer Mindy Goddeau said the proposed sewer rate increase is a “flat-rate increase” — about 5% increase — that will apply to all commercial and residential properties that use Lake Placid sewer services inside and outside of the village.

Goddeau said the village hasn’t increased its sewer rates since 2006, and the increase will help the village pay for some sewer upgrades that are coming up. At the village board’s public hearing for the 2022-23 budget last week, Goddeau said the village expects to make $7.8 million in upcoming upgrades to the village sewer plant. Mayor Art Devlin said at the budget hearing last week that the upgrades were “state-mandated.”

Goddeau said last week that she wanted to propose a small sewer rate increase “to start” as the village applies for state and federal grants to help fund the upgrades.

“I don’t want to overdo it (the increase) because I don’t know what the final cost to the village is going to be,” she said, adding, “It’s just not feasible to make the (sewer) ratepayer pay for an $8 million upgrade.”

Goddeau said increasing sewer rates would also help the village build up reserves in its sewer fund. Goddeau said those reserves are “depleted” because of the amount of debt that the sewer plant has accumulated over time; the village’s sewer fund currently has more than $8 million in debt, according to Goddeau, and the village makes an annual sewer debt payment of more than $812,000.

A public hearing is required before the village board can vote to approve the proposed sewer rate increases. Goddeau said that people from the public will be able to ask questions at the village’s public hearing on the sewer rate increase, which starts at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5 at the North Elba Town Hall. The village board plans to hold a second public hearing that night at 4:45 p.m., ahead of the village board’s regular meeting at 5 p.m., about a proposed motor boat speed limit on Mirror Lake and Mill Pond.

The village plans to publish a GoToMeeting link on July 1 on the village website for people who want to attend the public hearings virtually.

Increase details

The village is proposing to increase residential sewer rates inside the village from $108 to $113 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage — a 4.6% increase — and to charge $56.70 for each additional 1,000 cubic feet of sewage, an increase from $54.

For commercial users inside the village, the village is also proposing a 4.6% increase in base rates — from $108 to $113 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage. For the next 23,000 cubic feet of sewage, commercial users in the village would pay $75.60 per 1,000 cubic feet, an increase from $72; for the next 75,000 cubic feet, commercial users in the village would pay $85.05 per 1,000 cubic feet of sewage, an increase from $81; and any additional sewage would cost $89.25 per 1,000 cubic feet, up from the current rate of $85.

People who qualify for a senior sewer rate inside the village would see a 4.9% increase in their base sewer rate, from $10.70 to $11.23 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage. Any additional sewage would cost $56.70 per 1,000 cubic feet, an increase from $54.

The village is proposing to increase residential sewer rates outside the village from $144 to $151.20 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage — a 5% increase — and $75.60 for each additional 1,000 cubic feet of sewage, an increase from $72.

For commercial users outside the village, the village is also proposing a 5% increase in base rates — from $144 to $151.23 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage. For the next 23,000 cubic feet of sewage, commercial users in the village would pay $100.80 per 1,000 cubic feet, an increase from $96; for the next 75,000 cubic feet, commercial users in the village would pay $113 per 1,000 cubic feet of sewage, an increase from $108; and any additional sewage would cost $118.65 per 1,000 cubic feet, up from the current rate of $113.

People who qualify for a senior sewer rate outside the village would see a 4.9% increase in their base sewer rate, from $10.70 to $11.23 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage. Any additional sewage would cost $75.60 per 1,000 cubic feet, an increase from $72.

A document that lists the village’s proposed increases is attached to the public hearing notice for the sewer rate increase on the village website.