LYNNFIELD — Superintendent John Scenna and the Lynnfield Center Water District (LCWD) Board of Commissioners would like to invite the public to attend meetings about the proposed volumetric water rates and a revised billing structure for district customers that would be put in place in the coming months.
The new proposed billing system will feature quarterly bills, rather than the twice yearly cycle currently in place. The final bills under the current structure would be issued in March. The proposed new billing cycle and rates would begin on March 1 and the first quarterly bill would be sent out in June.
Customers would also be sent bills in September, December and March going forward. Each bill would show the water consumption from the previous three months.
Billing will be broken up into three classifications of users:
- Residential, which consists of all homes within the district. There are three tiers within this classification as well, based on water usage.
- Municipal, which consists of all municipal buildings, open spaces, parks and fields.
- Other, which consists of buildings with multiple owners, like condominium and apartment complexes, commercial accounts and churches/places of worship.
New user rates for those in the residential and other classifications have not been set. Customers should anticipate being charged a quarterly account fee along with the rates. The service fee being proposed for those in the residential class will be $25/quarter; and for those in the other class will be $50/quarter.
The rate for those under the municipal classification is $2.10 per thousand gallons of water. Town accounts will also be subject to the $25/quarter account fee moving forward.
Since August 2019, a Rate Committee has worked to change the rate structure to align with industry standards and better benefit customers, as well as help the Water District with funding for both short and long term capital projects. The Rate Setting Committee brought on Raftelis, a public sector consulting firm focused on water and wastewater finances and utility rate setting, to help build the new structure.
“We looked at a three year window of water consumption and customer use in order to create a rate structure that aligns with the types of customers we have, one that is fair, equitable and sustainable” Superintendent Scenna said. “Quarterly billing gives customers the ability to better monitor their consumption and track their overall usage as opposed to getting two bills a year, only one of which actually showed customers their consumption.”
There are three public meetings scheduled to discuss the new structure and set the new rates over the next few weeks:
- Monday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Summer Street School All Purpose Room, 262 Summer St. This meeting will be a regular Board of Commissioners Meeting, where the rates will be one of the items on the agenda.
- Monday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Al Merritt Center, 600 Market St. This meeting will be a workshop about the new rates and the billing system, where anyone in the district is welcome to come and ask questions. It will include a presentation from Superintendent John Scenna and Dave Fox from Raftellis Associates.
- Monday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Summer Street School All Purpose Room, 262 Summer St. This is a regular Board Meeting, where the Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on the final rates.
At the meetings, the Board will also discuss the distribution of revenue raised between the Volumetric Rates and Real Estate Tax Levy. LCWD raises its revenue through volumetric rates and an assessment on individual real estate bills. Industry standards have shifted to require collecting more revenue from volumetric rates, a trend the Commission is exploring and would have the overall cost of water to customers impacted more by water consumed than property value.
Members of the district are invited to attend to learn more about the changes and ask any questions they may have. Information will continue to be posted to www.LCWD.US.
The Feb. 3 workshop will be recorded and links will be posted on both the Town of Lynnfield and LCWD websites.