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Water Rate Change Coming In Mineola

The Village of Mineola will enact water rate increases for homeowners, construction sites and outside entities after a ruling at a recent public hearing. Rates have not increased since 2005.

Mineola reps cited production costs and water equipment updates as drivers of the rate increase.

“We’re at a point here with the water rates,” Mayor Scott Strauss said. “They haven’t been evaluated since I think, 2005. We’re talking nine years. We’re at a critical point and we need to concern ourselves with future projects regarding the water department and water distribution.”

Rates will be implemented over three years. Homes use about 100,000 gallons and pay $256 per year, officials say. That rate would increase to $273 after the phase-in.

“We think that’s a fair representation of what the average family is using,” village attorney John Spellman said.

Mineola has a “graduated rate,” meaning it rewards low-usage consumers and encourages high-usage consumers to cut back, according to Spellman. Water meters haven’t been replaced in Mineola in 20 years. Village officials say they may look at changing meters again.

“The industry standard for keeping track of water production versus water revenues is to determine what percentage of water is unmetered,” he said. “The goal is to always stay below 10 percent.”

Building construction sites would have to pay $4 per 1,000 gallons used, based on metered water.

“We have many projects going on that are requiring a lot of water,” Village Public Works Superintendent Tom Rini said. He’s been operating as the water department head since former leader Fred Booher retired two years ago. “We have been using hydrant meters to gauge how much is being used at a particular site.”

Outside entities (water-tank wagons, water suppliers, etc.) will need to pay $500 per year to use village water. The previous fee was $50.

“There are other water districts and suppliers that won’t give permits,” said Rini. “For example, City-wide Sewer and Drain in Carle Place. The [Carle Place] Water District will not give them a hydrant permit to fill their vehicles. They come to us, because it [was] $50.”

Buildings with automatic sprinkler systems, depending on water pipe size, would need to pay service charges between $195-$1,100 annually.

Nonprofit organizations, such as schools, hospitals, religious and charitable institutions, will pay $1.65 per 1,000 gallons. However, according to Mineola reps, there will be a monthly minimum charge of $550 per month per water meter with a monthly entitlement of 225,000 gallons per month.

“We’ve always made a point of planning ahead,” Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira said. “It’s not like all of these things are going to hit tomorrow. But rather than waiting until we’re forced to do something, I think it’s responsible to prepare.”