Homer Sewer Rates May Go Up in 2014, Sewer Fund $83k Over Budget
Village of Homer sewer users could see an increase in their quarterly sewer bills by next year; the village’s sewer expenses are running several thousand dollars over budget.
The Homer sewer budget is currently over spent by 83 thousand dollars according to Village Mayor Genevieve Suits. It appears that operational and maintenance expenses charged to Homer from the Cortland Waste Water Treatment Plant and increased sewage flows coming from the village are the two primary driving factors behind the unexpected cost increase.
According to Waste Water Plant Operator Bruce Adams, the city has increased the operation & maintenance charges paid by all the municipal partners that utilize the plant. The costs were increased based on actual expense of operating the plant. Adams believes the bigger factor behind Homer’s price spike is the infiltration of ground water into the village’s aging sewer system. During the 2nd quarter of this year waste water coming from Homer increased by 11 million gallons.
Adams says more water running through leaks in the pipes means the village is sending more waste water through the main flow meter and in turn is being charged more for treating the waste.
Suits says the village is working to address the issue, including making sure the aging sewer meter is working properly, in addition the village and the Town of Cortlandville recently partnered to purchase a $10 thousand dollar sewer camera which will be used to look for leaks. Homer and Cortlandville are also looking at purchasing a portable meter that could be used to detect and isolate large leaks in the system.
Suits says the sewer lines in Homer are very old and a capital project may have to be established to replace the aging infrastructure. Those costs would also be passed along to rate payers, currently the village has $140 thousand set aside for sewer repairs
Suits is hopeful that some of the short terms steps will help avoid a rate increase for sewer users in the village, if not rate payers could expect to see higher bills starting in April of 2014.