HARRISON, N.Y. – It will cost the average Harrison homeowner $86.39 more for water this year after the the Harrison Town Board voted 3-2 to accept a 17 percent water rate increase.
The hike, which will cover the next 12 months, was requested by Westchester Joint Water Works, covering Harrison and the town and village of Mamaroneck.
Harrison’s proposed water rate increase is in the middle of the average hike for Westchester and Putnam counties, Water Works manager Anthony Conetta said.
Trustees Joe Cannella and Steve Malfitano voted against accepting the rate increase. Canella said he voted against it because the Westchester Joint Water Works has a “lack of accountability.” Malfitano said he didn’t support the rate increase because the Town Board as a whole had no oversight over administration of the WJWW operating budget.
“What else is happening in the WJWW operating budget that we don’t know about?” Malfitano said. “I’m not saying there is anything wrong, but when we are asked to approve an increase that we have no ability to justify, I can’t support it.”
Trustee Marlane Amelio supported the increase because she didn’t want the town to be charged more if it weren't approved.
“Unfortunately, as much as I’m opposed to it in philosophy, do we really have a choice?” Amelio said.
Conetta said the rates are determined by New York City, from which the WJWW buys its water. New York is looking at a 9.8 percent rate increase for its water. He said water rate increases over the years have been due to the price of oil, chemicals and labor. He also said the amount of rain, affecting the water table, also figures into the rate.