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Rising costs for Riverhead Town’s Water District may lead to rate increases

Riverhead Town’s Water District may see a rate increase due to increase in the costs of items needed, such as chemicals and repairs, according to Frank Mancini, the district superintendent.

Mr. Mancini gave a rundown of the situation at Thursday’s Town Board work session. He is recommending a two-tiered rate for water increases with higher water users paying more. Without the two-tier method, the increase would be 13%, he said.

The district is currently down $211,000 in its budget, he said, adding that he is transferring 30 percent of the planned improvements in his budget to the chemical and repair lines in his budget. 

“I can’t stop using chemicals and I can’t not repair things when they break,” Mr. Mancini told the Town Board, saying that the chemicals used on the water, such as chlorine, are mandatory. The town also needs two new towers, he said. 

Mr. Mancini is proposing a “two-tier” budget that will make higher users pay more than those who don’t use a lot of water. 

Mr. Mancini is proposing a rate of $2.75 per 1,000 gallons for Tier 2 costumers, and $1.95 cost per 1,000 gallons for Tier 1 customers. 

Current rates are $1.83 per 1,000 gallons.

By comparison, Mr. Mancini said, the Suffolk County Water Authority’s rate per 1,000 gallons is $2.22 for Tier 1 and $3.20 for Tier 2. 

Mr. Mancini said the water district can’t survive at the rate it’s at now.

“It’s still going to be one of the cheapest water rates,” he said. 

“Everything is skyrocketing in cost,” he said.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said this is happening all over the country.

Councilman Bob Kern said he still sees people watering their lawns when it’s raining, or watering the street instead of their lawn. 

“Inflation is impacting every aspect of our life except oxygen,” Mr. Kern said. 

Town officials said the town needs to change people’s behavior when it comes to conserving water. Mr. Mancini also mentioned an idea for a Tier 0 for “ultra-conservers.” He said officials would need to calculate how low they could sell water for.

“If someone was that disciplined and used that little water, they should be rewarded and it would be a goal for homeowners,” Mr. Mancini said.