Some Lake Placid sewer rates to increase
LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday, Sept. 5 to increase sewer rates. This is the second sewer rate hike in two years for the village.
Village treasurer Mindy Goddeau said that the rate increase is meant to cover the new debt that resulted from recent work on Main Street.
Lake Placid received grants to partially cover the cost of this work as well as a 0% financing through the Environmental Facilities Corporation, a state-affiliated corporation that provides grants and funding to local governments to repair or improve their water infrastructures. The financing will go from short-term to long-term financing by the end of the year. In order to guarantee the payment to the EFC, the village decided to raise sewer rates.
Not all rates were increased. The rates for residential sewer customers inside the village, as well as eligible senior citizens both inside and outside of the village, will remain the same.
For commercial sewer users inside the village, there will be a 14.6% increase in base rates — from $133 to $152.48 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage. After the first 2,000 cubic feet, the rates will remain the same. For the next 23,000 cubic feet, users will pay $75.60 per 1,000 cubic feet of sewage; for the next 75,000 cubic feet, users will pay $85.05 per 1,000 cubic feet of sewage; and any additional sewage will cost $89.25 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Commercial sewer users outside the village will see an increase as well. The board approved a 26.1% increase in base rates, from $151.20 to $190.68 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage. The rates after the first 2,000 cubic feet remain at the same levels approved last July — for the next 23,000 cubic feet, users will pay $100.80 per 1,000 cubic feet; for the next 75,000 cubic feet, users will pay $113 per 1,000 cubic feet of sewage; and any additional sewage will cost $118.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Residential sewer users outside the village are also set for a 26.1% increase in base rates, from $151.20 to $190.68 for the first 2,000 cubic feet of sewage. The rate for the next 23,000 cubic feet remains the same at $75.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Goddeau explained on Sept. 7 that residential users inside the village did not receive a similar rate increase due to the share of debt they already cover with their taxes.
“Main Street is primarily commercial businesses, so we increased the commercials’ (rates) because they benefited most from (the sewer repairs) — not only inside the village, but outside the village as well, because we went up Saranac Avenue, as well, and that line is sort of set down from outside the village. We also increased the town portion outside the village … because if you live inside the village, you pay town taxes and you pay village taxes. Outside the village, you only pay town taxes. The village taxpayer takes on a bigger portion of the debt and regular expenses for the sewer department. So, in turn, instead of raising our village taxpayers’ sewer bills to add yet another cost to them to take care of the entire system, we increased the town’s instead.”
A public hearing on the proposed rate increases was held before the village board’s Sept. 5 meeting. There were no public comments.
When the board opened the floor to public comments after its meeting, Lake Placid resident James Hughes questioned if the granite curbs on Main Street in Lake Placid were created, installed and maintained according to state Department of Transportation standards.
According to village Mayor Art Devlin, the granite curbs on Main Street were chosen due to their resistance to heavy salting in the winter, unlike traditional cement curbs. However, following routine plowing in the winter, the curbs became sharpened and posed a threat to car tires. The village paid $14,000 recently to have the curb edges buzzed and rounded.
Hughes said, had the curbs been installed under DOT standards, the village would not need to have paid $14,000 to have them buzzed.
“The experts made a mistake somewhere along the line,” he said.
Devlin and Goddeau both said they would ask DOT inspectors about this discrepancy.
Goddeau also said that Lake Placid has a contract that requires the village to handle maintenance on Main Street rather than the DOT.