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The Alden Village Board, after a public hearing Monday, unanimously voted to increase water and sewer rates, the first in four years.

The increases, which will cost the average homeowner $80 a year, were precipitated by a report from the state comptroller's office showing a $160,389 deficit in the water and sewer fund.

Mayor Richard Kegler said that up until six years ago when the new wastewater treatment facility was built, the state provided 33.3 percent of the cost of operating and maintaining the plant. The state aid was decreased and has now been eliminated.

"We determined that there was no easy solution to making up the deficit," Kegler said. "We could raise rates high enough to end the problem in one year, but rates would be out of sight."

The new rate schedule will take three years to rid the village of the deficit, but the increased rates will continue after that time to keep pace with an anticipated 5 percent rise each year in costs. Water users will find the increase reflected in their Feb. 1 bills.

In other action, the board approved increasing the two-year terms of trustees and the mayor to four years. The change is subject to a permissive referendum.

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