DUBOIS – Attempts to explain surcharge increase on water were made at the DuBois City council meeting.
“What will we do the next year or two to stay alive?” asked mayor John “Herm” Suplizio in reference to the ailing water system.
Using a computer slideshow to help illustrate why the repairs, and the surcharge to pay for them, was needed Suplizio showed those present photos of the repairing the Chestnut Avenue water breach. The broken metal pipe was replaced with a plastic section and encased within concrete as it was a creek crossing.
Described as a “typical breach”, Suplizio said the cost of the repair was $15000.
A gear that operated a skimmer at the water treatment plant also had to be replaced as wear and rust had taken its toll on the part. The cost being “thousands” in parts alone.
“I don’t think any of us want to raise the water rates,” said Suplizio several times during his post-adjournment presentation.
Nearly as often he would ask for any ideas on what to do in the place of raising water rates. Some of the pipes within the city nearly a century old and water tanks needing work. Concerning the pipes Suplizio expressed the possibility that DuBois may eventually suffer a fate similar to what happened to the sewer systems in local areas. The state may step in and mandate the old pipe’s be dealt with. The tank would last another five years, he estimated, but would then cost $10 million to resolve.
“The political thing is not to raise the rates, but the right thing to do is raise them,” said Suplizio.
He explained that the political method would mean leaving the rates alone to please people, but leave things to be much worse for future council members who would later have to deal with the problems eventually.
“Our rates are some of the lowest in the state,” said Suplizio. State funds usually go to help municipalities with higher end rates.
The City of DuBois is currently so cheap in comparison with state average that, according to Suplizio, the DuBois would still be under the state average.
The council admitted that money is tight for many currently. One call was quoted, the caller’s name not mentioned, saying that if the city raised water rates they should reduce gas prices.
“I think it is ridiculous,” said city council member William Boyle, referring to complains about any raise in cost of water.
“Who needs three iPhones? No one complains about $150 phone bills, natural gas increases and computer costs,” said Boyle. Later adding “There are a lot of things you can cut back on, but you need water.”
The session ended with the possibility of having a discussion on the matter at the next meeting. The current proposed charge of $10 a month is expected to bring in around $440,000 a year.