For Immediate Release: June 30, 1999

MWRA Board Of Directors Approve FY00 Rates

The MWRA Board of Directors today approved a fiscal year 2000 combined water and sewer charge increase of 5.3 percent to its member communities. For the average household that receives both water and sewer services, this increase translates into an approximate combined annual water and sewer bill of $726, a $36 increase from FY99.

The approved rate follows an extensive four month review of next year's budget by the MWRA Advisory Board and the Board of Directors. During this review, the $437.6 million budget proposed in February 1999, was cut by $14.2 million to bring the final MWRA FY00 operating budget to $423.4 million. Almost half of that amount is earmarked to pay the interest and principal on the short and long-term bonds that MWRA must issue to finance the construction of new facilities and necessary repairs and improvements to the regional water and sewer infrastructure.

"While we realize that no increase in a household's water and sewer bill is welcomed," said MWRA Executive Director Douglas B. MacDonald, "we are pleased to be able to keep the increase to just 5.3 percent while major water system projects we're building hit full construction, including the 17.6 mile MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel and the Walnut Hill Water Treatment plant. "

Although MWRA's wholesale water and sewer rate requirement has increased 5.3 percent, MWRA's actual FY00 assessments to individual communities will vary considerably depending on local water and sewer use. Water assessments to specific communities are based on the community's metered water use in calendar year 1998. Sewer rates are based on a community's estimated CY98 wastewater flow, high strength user volume and loading contributions, and census and sewered population.

The Cellucci/Swift administration, along with the Massachusetts Legislature and Congressional Delegation, have all played a major role in reducing rate increases by securing federal grants for the Boston Harbor Project and instituting the Commonwealth's Debt Service Assistance Program. That program is expected to provide $48 million in assistance to MWRA rate payers in FY00.


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