Over the past several years the Board of Commissioners has been able to stabilize water rates and taxes. During this period, the District was able to absorb a portion of rising budget costs by utilizing reserve funds established with the proceeds received by the District from a pollution claim won against the Lockheed Martin Corporation. The remaining reserve funds are now fully committed to current and near term non-budget capital projects. Now, faced with considerable increases in operational expenses, we regrettably must implement an increase in the District's water tax levied on real property and increase the rate schedule of metered potable water sales to take effect January 1, 2006.
As announced at the District's September 27, 2005 public hearing, the 2006 fiscal year water District budget is projected to be $8,655,691 or $1,552,481 over last years budget. This significant escalation in expenditures reflects the rise in non-discretionary costs associated with the District's ongoing rehabilitation and security upgrades of our wells and distribution system. In addition, other major expenses include water treatment, debt service on the recently completed 12 million dollar improvement bond issue, rising insurance premiums as well as forecasted higher energy costs tied to projected petroleum prices
Rate structure encourages conservation The District's traditional water consumption block rate schedule is designed to give cost incentives to our customers and encourage conservation. Metered water usage and related cost escalate from block to block. Consequently, all cumulative water consumed and metered in the billing cycle is billed at the appropriate higher block rate.
Since many consumers use lawn irrigation systems, this activity accounts for the largest portion of their water bill and if properly monitored, it provides the best opportunity to save money and conserve water.
Water is a bargain Annually, a typical Long Island household pays about $2,400 for electricity, $2,000 for heating fuel, $2,000 to fuel an automobile, and an additional $2,000 for phone, internet and cable services. Recent petroleum refinery disruption caused by the hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf Coast will certainly impact these prices over the near term.
An average homeowner in the Manhasset-Lakeville Water District paid a water tax of $200 and a $1.35 per 1,000 gallons of metered water. Some consumers are buying bottled water that often sells for more than $1 per half-liter. By comparison, a half-liter of Manhasset-Lakeville Water costs less than a penny.
When you compare pricing that way, the fee charged for tap water from the Manhasset- Lakeville Water District is quite a bargain. People who pay a premium for bottled water are not gaining the perceived benefit of a better quality product. All water supplied by the Manhasset- Lakeville Water District meets or exceeds all applicable Federal, State, and Local standards for potable water.
As mandated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Manhasset-Lakeville Water District operates under an annual pumpage cap. The cap limits the total amount of water that can be withdrawn from the aquifers serving our District. In order to satisfy our permit to operate a public water supply, the District enacted a water conservation plan. The existing plan limits lawn watering to every other day, prohibits the use of water for once-through cooling, bans the washing of pavement, and promotes the use of low flow fixtures within the home.
In addition, the charges for water are based upon the above conservation driven block rate chart. In the winter months the District pumps an average of five million gallons per day. In the summer months the District pumps an average of nine million gallons per day. The new rates will take effect on January 1, 2006.