Sewer rates could drain city taxpayers

Posted in the Easton Forum

bpthoodnews

Lodi, NJ

#1 May 5, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- City residents may soon want to learn to take "military showers."

The shorter showers adopted by the armed forces to stay clean while conserving water will help defray the costs of a looming hike in sewer fees.

The Water Pollution Control Authority's proposed 2013-14 budget ratchets rates from $4.40 per 100 cubic feet of water used to anywhere from $5.29 to $5.69 per 100 cubic feet. The WPCA will hold a public hearing on its budget May 21.

If the rate increase is approved, the average single family homeowner's $352 annual sewer bill would increase to a minimum of $423 and a maximum of $455.

"That's outrageous," said Linda Simard, who like many Bridgeport residents, is feeling the impact of rising expenses.

Simard said the sewer fees are "akin to a second tax."

Consider: Democratic Mayor Bill Finch has proposed a city budget that would increase property taxes by nearly $400 in response to possible severe cuts in state aid. The City Council is hoping to cut that.

Ted Grabarz, a deputy director of public facilities who also serves as WPCA Commission chairman, said the agency needs to raise rates for a new private operator to manage and maintain Bridgeport's wastewater facilities.

KGI Bridgeport -- part of the United Kingdom-based Kelda Group -- has held the wastewater contract for more than a decade. But while the city came out ahead on the expired deal, KGI lost money.

Those outcomes needed to be addressed for the city to attract a new operator, which it has: Severn Trent, also based in the United Kingdom.

Grabarz said the rate increase is also needed to maintain and invest in the city's sewer infrastructure. That means finding ways to keep storm water out of the system to ensure that only sewage is treated, which reduces costs for residents.

"One thing we discovered is only 40 percent of the water that's treated ... is actually metered water," Grabarz said. "Sixty percent is actually either rainwater through the storm sewer system or infiltration in the pipes ... It's largely water that doesn't need the degree of treatment raw sewage does."

The city is also exploring forming a new Storm Water Authority, which would investigate ways of shifting some of the burden of treatment costs onto properties with large parking lots and other impermeable surface that divert so much of that storm water into the sewer system.

Grabarz said in an effort to reduce the size of the sewer rate increase, the WPCA has also ended a discount provided for several years to the town of Trumbull.

"We can't have anybody -- particularly a community that is, frankly, better off than the city of Bridgeport financially -- garnering any special benefits," Grabarz said.

While WPCA members are appointed by the mayor and City Council and the authority is submitting its budget to the council Monday, the sewer rate increases do not require the Finch administration's approval.

"Regardless as Mayor, I have strongly encouraged the WPCA board to seek additional funding at the state and federal level to complete needed facilities upgrades and to help mitigate projected increased operating costs to be borne by WPCA ratepayers," Finch said in a statement.

"During my tenure, I have dedicated significant city staff resources to assist the WPCA in identifying and implementing innovative ways to become a more efficient and sustainable public service operation ... I am confident that the WPCA under Mr. Grabarz's leadership is fully committed to the goal of WPCA rate stabilization."

http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Sewer-rat...
CTM

Sandy Hook, CT

#2 May 5, 2013
Ted Grabarz, a deputy director of public facilities who also serves as WPCA Commission chairman, said the agency needs to raise rates for a new private operator to manage and maintain Bridgeport's wastewater facilities......... So whos' cousin are they giving a new business to? Seems every time the state or city changes to a private operator, our taxes or fees go up and some inbreds cousin starts getting rich.

Since: Aug 10

Location hidden

#3 May 5, 2013
I agree with CTM.
The Genuine Phallus

Rossville, GA

#4 May 5, 2013
I agree with too.
BPT

Middlebury, CT

#5 May 6, 2013
wpca sucks. what do you get for your money when you pay them?
LynneB

New Haven, CT

#6 May 6, 2013
Looks like someone's trying to stir up some trouble.

“'never'”

Since: Mar 11

Location hidden

#7 May 6, 2013
Everyone in Bridgeport should take laxative all at once... that would teach those fookkers. I'm bored. There is no 'energy' on the forums lately.

Since: Aug 10

Location hidden

#8 May 6, 2013
It seems that Citizen is not reading my great interesting comments.

Since: Aug 10

Location hidden

#9 May 6, 2013
Look out for the rats.

Since: Aug 10

Location hidden

#10 May 6, 2013
#7... Tippy and I take a poop everyday. Thanks for asking.

“'never'”

Since: Mar 11

Location hidden

#11 May 6, 2013
America Gentleman Samuel wrote:
#7... Tippy and I take a poop everyday. Thanks for asking.
Thanks for the image.
Lifeisshort

Seymour, CT

#12 May 7, 2013
If the government can find something to tax the people on they'll do it. What's next? Tax people on the size of their poop? Maybe we should mail all the poop to Finch so he can generate an "Eco-friendly, turd tax-table". Sounds like a plan!!

“'never'”

Since: Mar 11

Location hidden

#13 May 8, 2013
America Gentleman Samuel wrote:
#7... Tippy and I take a poop everyday. Thanks for asking.
You're right, you DO post interesting comments!

“I Hate cloths on women !!”

Since: Mar 11

Bridgeport, CT

#14 May 8, 2013
LOVE my Septic system !!!!!!!
Lifeisshort

Seymour, CT

#15 May 8, 2013
johnfire69 wrote:
LOVE my Septic system !!!!!!!
Don't get too comfy! Give it time, but I'm sure the EPA and our greedy government will eventually tax you for "environmental disposal fees"!! It may be cheaper to just start digging holes when you get the urge.

“'never'”

Since: Mar 11

Location hidden

#16 May 8, 2013
Lifeisshort wrote:
<quoted text>Don't get too comfy! Give it time, but I'm sure the EPA and our greedy government will eventually tax you for "environmental disposal fees"!! It may be cheaper to just start digging holes when you get the urge.
There would be a jail sentence for that.

“I Hate cloths on women !!”

Since: Mar 11

Bridgeport, CT

#17 May 8, 2013
Lifeisshort wrote:
<quoted text>Don't get too comfy! Give it time, but I'm sure the EPA and our greedy government will eventually tax you for "environmental disposal fees"!! It may be cheaper to just start digging holes when you get the urge.
I can do that!!:-)

Since: Aug 10

Location hidden

#18 May 8, 2013
Citizen44 wrote:
<quoted text>
You're right, you DO post interesting comments!
Tippy and I enjoy the rain today, thank the Lord.

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