By Carol Britton Meyer
True to the promise that was made that water rates would hold steady for at least the first year the Town of Hingham owned the Weir River Water System, the Hingham Select Board -- acting in their role as Board of Water Commissioners -- recently approved a 10 percent rate increase for Fiscal Year 2022, effective July 1. Hingham acquired the water system on July 31, 2020.
The average impact of a 10 percent increase on residential customers on their quarterly bills will be roughly $16.84. The average commercial water bill will increase by about $33.16 quarterly.
This increase is in accordance with expectations the town shared with ratepayers in the years leading up to municipal ownership of the water system -- "that rates would increase by 10 percent every three years," Select Board Chair Joseph Fisher pointed out. He noted that there were no increases in water rates in 2020 and 2021, so Fiscal 2022 represents the third year.
"During earlier discussions, there was talk about lower and slower increases [than under prior ownership], but not that there would be no increases," Fisher recalled.
"An increase is necessary to support ongoing water operations and capital improvements," including repairing and maintaining the aging water system.
"We made a lot of claims going into the acquisition, and we're starting to see the benefits of local ownership," Town Administrator Tom Mayo said. "This is an exciting time, with everything going as planned or better."