The Village of Lansing Board of Trustees passed a resolution on Feb. 3 to increase the current sewer rents payable by village residents who use the Village of Cayuga Heights sewer system. The resolution passed unanimously, though Mayor Donald Hartill and Trustee Patricia O’Rourke were not in attendance at the meeting.
Any property owner who is provided with water service from the Village of Cayuga Heights will now have to pay a quarterly sewer rent charge of $1.35 per 1,000 gallons of water instead of $1.29 per 1,000 gallons of water. The increase in the rate was in response to the concurrent increase by the Village of Cayuga Heights Local Law 7 (2019), which increased the sewer rate from $4.14 to $4.35 per 1,000 gallons of water.
“The price went up because the Village of Cayuga Heights had raised their rate,” Village Clerk Jodi Dake said. “Our percentage of the surcharge is not changing; it’s staying the same.”
The village surcharge will remain at 25 percent. With the surcharge percentage along with the increase in the sewer rent charge, the new charge calculated to $1.3525, which was then rounded to $1.35.
The board also passed unanimously a resolution to increase the village’s surcharge from 40 to 50 percent of the Bolton Points water rate annually. Trustee Randy Smith said the resolution had been discussed with Hartill and O’Rourke before their absences and that they both said they were in favor of it.
Deputy Mayor Ronny Hardaway said the decision to increase the surcharge came from a recommendation from the Village Department of Public Works (DPW).
“Recently our DPW crew mentioned that we’re getting more and more instances of waterline failures within the village,” Hardaway said. “Our water fund reserves are not as high as we would like them to be for potential repair work or potential projects to replace lines proactively before they fail, which we are in the process of planning down the road.”
Hardaway then further explained the details of the increase.
“That’s a fairly dramatic change in percentages, but the overall amount of money per household is not extreme,” Hardaway said. “We will be increasing our water rates from $2.06 per 1,000 gallons to $2.70 per [1,000] gallon[s].”
Though the Village has an emergency fund, Hardaway said the Village wants to have “a little cushion,” rather than hand out higher bills to its residents to cover costs that have already occurred. He also said there is a chance that this increase will not be permanent.
“Potentially, at some point, where we’ve got what we think is enough money to cover all of our projects to have a cushion for emergencies, we could reduce that rate just as we’ve raised it today,” he said. “Temporarily, at least probably for several years, we will be going from a 40 percent to a 50 percent surcharge.”
“I think it’s good planning. It’s good for the Vllage; it will be good for our citizens. One thing we absolutely have to have here is good, clean water. Water breaks are a nightmare. They’re dangerous for our crews and they’re just not good for our residents and businesses.”