The New Windsor Town Council voted last night to increase water rates by 50 percent to eliminate the need to subsidize the money-losing service with general funds.
During last night's monthly council meeting, Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. said that under the current rate scale, the water service would have a deficit of more than $15,000 by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The new rates will take effect in December.
"The bottom line is that the water rates are going to have to be increased," the mayor told the council and residents at the meeting. "The ones who don't use their minimum [water allotment] are basically subsidizing those who use above the minimum for personal or business purposes."
Residents currently pay $10 per quarter for 10,000 gallons of water and $1 for every 1,000 gallons after that. Under the measure passed last night, residents will pay $15 for 10,000 gallons and $1.50 for each extra 1,000 gallons.
Revenue from the new rates will not relieve the deficit entirely, Mr. Gullo said. He said the town may have to boost rates again, maybe phasing in new increases over three years, so that by the third year, residents would be paying $27 a quarter. He also suggested another option under which "heavy users," such as businesses, would be charged a rate higher than those who use the minimum amount of water each quarter.
After the council approved the new rates, Mr. Gullo said, "People have to understand that this is not the end of the situation. This is just a Band-Aid on a bleeding artery."
In other news, the council voted to adopt the first phase of the mayor's plan to provide winter activities for children and young adults.
The Town Youth Partnership Experiment (TYPE) will begin with "Saturday Night Movies" on Oct. 16 in a location to be named later.
Paula Eckenrode, a parent, said she was thrilled the council agreed to the idea. "The kids will love it," she told the council. "You'll hear them shouting all over New Windsor."
"Just as long as it's before 10 o'clock," Mr. Gullo said, reminding her of the curfew for youths.