Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 10-31-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 SMITHFIELD OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 6, 2019 | BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER repairs of existing water tanks. The rates will support funding and SWSB operations for three years, and then Allen said he will conduct another rate study. The Town Council will hold a pub- lic hearing to discuss the proposed increase next Tuesday, Nov. 5, dur- ing at 7 p.m. meeting at Town Hall, 64 Farnum Pike. If approved, rates will go into effect on Jan. 1, during first quarter billing. The April 2020 bill will use the new rates. Rate increases are separated into the step rates, ranging from one gal- lon to 100,000 gallons, 100,001 gal- lons to 1 million gallons, and more than 1 million gallons. Rate increases for the first step would increase from $3.52 to $4.88 per 1,000 gallons, the second step from $4.18 to $5.78 per 1,000 gal- lons, and step three from $4.84 to $6.66 per 1,000 gallons. "The idea is to promote conserva- tion. So, the less water you use, the less you'll be charged," Allen said. The base charge for metering and billing will also increase, depending on the connection pipe size, by 50 percent. The average homeowner's annual base rate will increase from $40 to $60. For the average, low-consumption home, the annual water bill using 40,000 gallons will go from $212.80 to $287.20. An average medium- consumption home using 75,000 gallons will increase from $364.00 to $486.00 for a year. A high volume household using 120,000 gallons will go from $571.60 to $759.60 annually. SWSB rates will be slightly higher than neighboring towns, Allen said. The average consumer of 37,500 gal- lons in Smithfield, who pays $202 currently, will pay $270 annually with the proposed rates. In Lincoln, the same user pays $210.64. Allen said he believes that dispar- ity is because Smithfield is the first to update rates in some time. He expects other towns to follow that lead soon. With about a year and a half now behind him as the Department of Public Works director and SWSB commissioner, Allen says the town has not increased water supply rates since January 2008. He said the town needs to build funding for future capital improve- ments, maintenance, and repairs to the system to provide quality and reliable water to customers. "Our objective is to design and strengthen our enterprise fund. We had to first look and see what is the cost of doing business," hesaid. He said the idea is to gradually raise rates to pay for the depreciation of the system, capital improvements, and new debt. The SWSB gets water from the Providence Water Supply Board, so Allen said it is essential to factor potential rate increases from that agency as well. "We have nothing borrowed right now. But there is a tremendous amount of deferred maintenance," he said. Repainting and replacing critical components in the three water stor- age tanks in town is a top priority that has been put off for years, Allen said. The tank rehabilitation project will cost approximately $2.8 million to perform, with money borrowed from the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. Allen said the most significant financial impact will come from the highest users in the third step, such as Fidelity Investments and Bryant University. He said those commercial users require more maintenance and structure, and therefore pay more in the long run. Allen said he was sure to discuss the rate increases with commercial users to ensure they were comfort- able with the new proposed rates. "They're all on board. The number one priority is reliable, high-quality water," Allen said. SWSB includes approximately 215,000 feet, or 41 miles, of transmis- sion and distribution mains of vary- ing material and sizes. It serves 1,416 residential meters, 129 commercial meters, and 40 industrial meters and delivers 1.8 million gallons per day. Of those customers, 473 meters in North Providence receive 220,000 gallons per day. SWSB has three storage tanks, including the million-gallon Rocky Hill tank, the 4 million-gallon Island Wood tank, and the 300,000-gallon Burlingame tank. Allen said the SWSB is planning on creating redundancies in the system for cases such as when a piv- otal water main broke and poured onto I-95 on Feb. 4 The break left customers north of the 295 overpass pumping water stored in the tanks until repairs could be completed. Had the break occurred in the middle of the summer, Allen said the town would go through the water within hours. The three-year plan includes exploring options on where to cre- ate redundancy in water mains and distribution system improvements. Allen said priorities needing repairs include the Route 7 and 295 water main, hydrant replacement, water meter replacement, a leak detection system, and interconnecting with neighboring systems. Other priority mains needing replacement or repairs are the Douglas Pike, Ridge Road, Stillwater Road, George Washington Highway, and Harris Road water mains. "The common theme in my book is preventative maintenance to avoid bigger problems later," Allen said. WATER RATES From Page One 'The number one priority is reliable, high-quality water.' GENE ALLEN Smithfield Water Supply Board commissioner Smithfield Heritage Hall of Fame Awards Nov. 7 SMITHFIELD – The Smithfield Heritage Hall of Fame Committee will hold its 10th Induction Ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m., at the Smithfield Senior Center, 1 William J. Hawkins Jr. Trail, in Greenville. Organizers say the committee recognizes individuals who have brought credit and prominence to the town and who have contrib- uted to the history and heritage of Smithfield. The inductees must have distinguished themselves by their contributions to the betterment of the community, its citizens, and the qual- ity of life. This year's inductees include Robert Buonarccorsi, Joseph DeAngelis, Councilwoman S. Jean Cerroni, the late A. Donald Mercier, Col. Steven O'Donnell, the late Saverio (Sammy) Serpiglia, Anthony Torregrossa, Sen. John Tassoni Jr., and the Winfield family. The event will be dedicated to two longtime members of the Heritage Hall of Fame Committee who recently died. Robert Salisbury died in June and Thomas Robitaille died in September. Town Manager Randy Rossi will emcee the event. Guest of the induct- ees and Smithfield residents are invit- ed to stay for refreshments immedi- ately following the ceremony. Current committee members include Chairwoman Karen Armstrong, Carol Aquilante, Burleigh Briggs, Lisa Cournoyer, Michael Flynn, John Fogarty, James Grenga, Arlene Gentile, Virginia Harnois, Paul Ouellette, Kenneth Brown Jr., Charles Walsh and Amy Paul. Candy Corn Counting Contest ends today SMITHFIELD – The winner of the East Smithfield Public Library Candy Corn Counting Contest will be drawn today, Thursday, Oct. 31. Children in grades K-5 are eligible for this contest. The participant who comes the closest to the correct number will win a Halloween treat. Call the library at 401-231-5150.

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