Town board votes to increase new water service fees

— The Skaneateles Town Board has unanimously approved an increase in installation fees for new water services or equipment replacement, as well as a requirement that all new water services of a certain length be required to have a meter pit installed on the nearest road right-of-way.

The new fee schedule and rule applies to both residential and commercial water service within the town, and was done to keep the fees – last updated in 2009 – in-line with current costs.

“Since 2009 these costs have increased, but we haven’t adjusted the rates. So when we go in and do new service connections we’re basically subsidizing it,” said Town Supervisor Terri Roney at the board’s Sept. 20 meeting.

The town board previously had asked Water Department Superintendent Jim Card to examine the water service installation fee schedule and, if necessary, recommend fee adjustments.

After checking material prices, Card recommended an average increase of approximately $100 for installation of each of the different types of water meters. So a three-quarter-inch meter that previously cost $200 now will cost $300, while a one-inch meter increased from $240 to $400.

There will be no increase for service connections fees, which currently range from $500 to $800 depending on their size.

Card also recommended that meter pits now be required by the town for all new water services of more than 150 feet in length. A meter pit allows a water meter to be erected on the nearest road rather farther in on a homeowner’s property.

The purpose of this requirement is to allow the town easier access to a meter if they must fix a leak, since, under the law, they are not allowed to go onto private property.

This also “put’s the ball in the homeowner’s court to maintain [the water line]” because if the line from the meter to the house breaks and they choose not to fix it, they will still be paying for the water, rather the town assuming the costs, Card said. This is because from the point of a meter pit onward, a water line is considered a private line under the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain, he said.

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