Village of Kenmore homeowners can expect to pay an additional $120 per year on their water and sewer bill due to a surcharge that will cover ongoing infrastructure projects.
The surcharge, to be paid in quarterly installments of $30, was instituted after the village in March signed a consent order with the state Department of Environmental Conservation requiring sewer linings and waterline replacements on streets throughout the village.
“DEC is telling us that this now has to be done,” Mayor Patrick Mang said at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting. “So we’re borrowing this money to now start this process.”
On Wednesday, the village is prepared to borrow $5 million for the sewer linings and $3.5 million for waterline replacements. The village hasn’t finalized the list of streets that will have work done; it will depend on where line breaks have been most prevalent over the last five years, said Village Clerk-Treasurer Kathleen P. Johnson.
The amounts borrowed – and the surcharge to pay for it – didn’t sit well with Richard Ward Jr., a LaSalle Avenue resident, who questioned the process.
“It just concerns me as a resident that, all of a sudden, I get a letter in the mail and it just says, ‘Here you go. Here’s a $30 quarterly fee that we expect you to pay. Period,’ ” Ward said.
Mang explained that the village faces fines from the DEC of up to $37,500 per day if it doesn’t comply with the consent order, and that the full amounts are being borrowed now because interest rates are historically low.
“Yes, we’ve borrowed a lot of money,” he told Ward. “We’ve borrowed a lot of money because interest rates are cheap.”
The work will not cause much disruption for village residents, Mang said, because the sewer linings can be done “manhole to manhole” and do not require the roadway to be dug up.
The village will also utilize about $245,000 in federal Department Housing and Urban Development funds to improve water and sewer lines in eligible areas of the village, Johnson said.
A previous $3.485 million project, which is nearly complete, involved replacing water mains on McKinley, Tremont and Washington avenues, Westgate Road and Hamilton Boulevard.