Water Rates are Up and Bills are Due on December 12

Happy holidays, Weston! It’s time to check out that business-sized envelope from town that says “Water Department”. It is not actually a year-in-review letter and holiday card from DPW– though I guess in a way it is. Yes, it’s water bill time!! This November 2022 bill includes usage from November 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022, which is part of the town fiscal year 2022. You will note, upon opening the envelope, that the water rates have increased for each of the three tiers. Twenty percent up, in case you are math-challenged.

Photo from my letter with the shadow of my cat Shadow foreshadowing things

Enclosed with your bill is a letter from DPW Director Tom Cullen explaining that “this increase is primarily needed to cover the anticipated costs for much-needed capital improvements” which is later explained as more or less the three aging water tanks at Doublet Hill, Cat Rock, and Paines Hill. You can read about the Town’s Water System Master Plan Upgrades and Replacements here.

The last time water rates were raised was in fiscal year 2021 when they were raised 10%. In Fiscal Year 2022, with a wet summer, water usage at the highest tier came down to around second-tier levels due to a wet summer in 2021 (remember there is a lag in usage). Fiscal Year 2023 is going to be a gangbuster with the dry summer of 2022.

There is a lot of discussion about all of this including LOTS of numbers and data-y stuff at the October 11 Select Board meeting you can watch on Weston Media, starting at around minute 0:19:35 and going to 1:19:43. You can also see the official minutes here.

“People have been paying too little for water over decades now,” said Select Board Chair Chris Houston. “In a perfect world there would have been capital set aside…we would have been reserving for it over years and years and years.”

And guess what? Weston didn’t. So now we pay the duck*. Fortunately, our duck is less grabby than neighboring town ducks. Yes, neighboring towns are compared as well during the Select Board meeting, starting at minute 0:53. Lexington has expensive water, by the way. And a cool mascot (not discussed).

From Select Board meeting, October 11, 2022

The second to last paragraph of Mr. Cullen’s letter does state that “the effect of these necessary rate increases to the average Weston residential customer is an estimated annual increase of about $100.” You can contact the water department at 781-786-5100 with any questions. And the Select Board is the town government body that decided this increase so you can also reach out there if you are wanting to give your constructive feedback. You can reach them through selectboard@westonma.gov.

Please note that your bills are due December 12, 2022 and interest accrues at a salty 14% per annum after 12/12/2022. Pay the duck.

*Pagar o pato or pay the duck is Brazilian slang for “pay the consequences for a situation created by someone else.” Also, Brazil won their game today against Switzerland and will move on from the group stage at the World Cup. They are not paying any ducks.

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