The Bradford City Water Authority on Wednesday approved a residential rate increase for 2020, which will amount to 45 cents per 1,000 gallons.

Executive Director Steve Disney explained, “That total rate increase is to fund transmission main capital projects (which) are estimated to be at least $1.30 per 1,000 gallons.”

Rather than increase the rate by the full amount, the authority has chosen to phase-in the increase over a three-year period, which began last year. The second step will be the increase of 45 cents per 1,000 gallons, which will take effect Jan. 1.

Disney added that Bradford’s water rates are still significantly less than other areas’ rates. “Regarding the surrounding communities, the Bradford City Water Authority rate of $3.60 per 1,000 gallons compares to $5.70 in Smethport, $7.33 in Johnsonburg, $8.00 in Ridgway, $10.65 in Mount Jewett and $12.22 in both Kane and Warren,” Disney reported.

He explained to the board that the average residential water consumption in the Bradford system is approximately 4,000 gallons per month. That means for 2020, the average customer can expect an increase of about $1.80 per month or $21.60 a year.

“High elevations areas that require a second pumping process, such as in Lafayette Township, are assessed a surcharge added to the base fee to cover all the costs associated with the additional pumping and chlorinating process,” Disney explained. For next year, that rate will remain at 55 cents per 1,000 gallons.

Also at the meeting, Disney reported that a final bargaining session has been held with representatives from the Pittsburgh Plumbers Local Union 27, with a verbal agreement for a three-year contract with wage increases of $1 per hour each year.

The authority also approved sending in a grant application to the state Small Water and Sewer Program to allow for the construction of 5,300 linear feet of an 8-inch water main extension from St. Francis Drive to the suction side of the existing Office of Economic and Community Development pumping station located at Lafferty Hollow Industrial Park. The extension, Disney explained, “will address a need to improve the water quality and supply.” The total cost estimate is $423,400.

The authority also viewed the proposed budget, with projected revenue of $,294,432; operating expenses of $3,210,040; debt service requirement of $721,362.50; and would provide $363,029.50 to transfer to the bond redemption and improvement funds.

A bid opening was held for soft maple, with the winning bidder Brownlee Lumber Co. of Brookville with a bid of $96,330. A bid opening is set for Dec. 11 for a sale of predominantly soft maple with a small volume of other multi-species hardwoods.

An update was given on the project of a 24-inch redundant transmission main. Disney reported the authority, its engineer and solicitors continue to complete and upload the necessary documents associated with the PENNVEST loan application process, which is scheduled to close on Jan. 8.

Because of the holiday, next month’s meeting will be held at noon Dec. 11.

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