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Watertown City Council stands firm on water service rates


Town of Watertown officials could not get the city to budge on a new water agreement.

Supervisor Joel R. Bartlett said Thursday night he was unable to get the Watertown City Council to agree to lower water rates for its Water Districts 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6. It will remain the $37 per 1,000 cubic feet rate that it has been for the past five years.

The five-year contract expired Dec. 31.

Mr. Bartlett recently met with City Manager Sharon A. Addison, City Water Superintendent Michael J. Sligar and City Comptroller James E. Mills to renegotiate the amount. In the end, City Council members said no to the lower rate.

“We were unable to get it reduced,” Mr. Bartlett told the Town Council Thursday night.

Last month, he said he hoped to reduce the amount by 20 percent. The agreement must be in place before the town proceeds with its planned northeast water district.

The new five-year agreement still must be ratified by both the Town Council and City Council, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said Thursday night.

The city has been pushing for all out-of-city users to pay the same amount, Mr. Graham said.

Mr. Bartlett also gave an update on the northeast water district project, saying he hopes to know next month if enough property owners have signed a petition to move forward.

The town needs 51 percent of the equivalent dwelling units to go along with forming the district or the project will not go forward.

He has been trying to cut about $100 from the annual $800 cost that 280 equivalent dwelling units would pay if the water district is formed and the $2.1 million project proceeds.

Last month, the Town Council learned that many Weaver Road residents now oppose the water district. On Thursday, Mr. Bartlett said that a water line still would be installed along Weaver Road, but property owners do not have to be connected to it. However, they will be assessed a service debt fee to help finance the project. The amount of that fee will be determined later by the Town Council, he said.

When the project first came up more than seven years ago, it was residents on Weaver Road who requested the town provide water to them.

The city already provides some town residents with water.

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