WESTFIELD—The sewer rates for residents of Isabelle Gardens will be changing.
The Westfield Water Commission voted last night to modify the over-55 housing community’s sewer rates to a residential rate, changing from a commercial rate. The change to the rate makes the use of the sewer system a flat rate, and also potentially lowers the overall cost of the use for the residents, which ward four city councilor Mary O’Connell cited to possibly be as much as a 60 percent difference.
The new rate for the residents will be the residential flat rate of $303 per year, which is broken down to $75.75 per quarter. Under the commercial rate, the cost for sewer usage is “$4.51 per 1,000 gallons subject to a minimum quarterly charge of $75.75,” according to the city’s website.
“We thought we covered all the bases,” O’Connell said about when the city council issued the special permit initially nearly a decade ago. “But we never addressed whether the sewer was commercial or residential.”
While the change to the residential rate is a possible savings for the residents, there is the lower senior sewer rate that, although the tenants qualify for based on age, do not qualify for based on design of the complex.
According to a letter from the Westfield City Solicitor’s Office sent to the commission, this is due to the fact that the complex is billed through one meter and this was determined because of the special permit for the project, regulations for water resources and the design of the complex.