Block Island Times

Challenges ahead for water and sewer

The Water and Sewer Commission met and wrestled with daunting challenges in their budget meeting late Tuesday this past week.Akin to almost every other island organization, island growth is presenting significant challenges.The commissioners noted a need to develop long term infrastructure planning that will include upgrades and develop a road map and timeline for future capital expenses. They also noted worrisome capacity issues that are lurking on the immediate horizon that need to be analyzed.After hearing from each commissioner, and some residents, Chairman Brad Marthens asked for a final vote on a proposed budget. Commissioners settled on an increase of seven percent on user fees, as well as a $50 increase for septic system pump-out rates for disposal of ISDS waste. They arrived at the seven percent increase after tapping the reserve fund for $10,000 to lower a higher proposed rate increase.Commissioner Kathy Szabo argued for holding the increase to seven percent noting that “businesses are still hurting and that is a significant expense to bear.” The committee had wrestled with going as high as ten percent.The committee agreed that Covid affected everyone but did not want to go back to where the operating budget was generating deficits.

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