Schaffer: Sewer Rate Increase Not Expected to Change

By Adam Chick

November 15, 2012 Updated Nov 15, 2012 at 10:51 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Vestal residents are upset about a proposed 45 percent increase in their sewer rates for 2013.

For the average customer this will mean close to an extra $80 each year.

Vestal residents say they were shocked to learn about the possible 45 percent increase in their sewer rates.

"In all the years I've been in Vestal I've never picked up a newspaper and found a raise, especially that exorbitant," said Vestal resident Charles McGlynn.

The residents blamed the town board, and the town board shifted the blame to the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Board.

But the sewage board says it's not at fault.

"I really can't answer how or why Vestal raised their rates. However I can say that our budget from 2012-2013 did go up approximately 10 or 12 percent," says Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Board Superintendent, Catherine Aingworth.

"There's just basically miscommunications or no communications coming out of their board of directors on how to fix these problems. You're over-charging us, give us the money," said Vestal Supervisor, John Schaffer (D).

Each municipality is responsible for setting their own rates, and within that rate they have to consider the costs for what the town has to charge to maintain its own system.

"I think it's just excessive for the times that we live in right now," said Vestal resident Denise Getchell.

Many people complained that they could barely afford any rate increase, let alone 45 percent.

Vestal superintendent John Schaffer said the same thing; the town is hurting for money just as much as the residents.

"We don't have reserves, and they're gone. Everybody can see the shape the country is in right now and what's going on," said Schaffer.

Vestal leaders say they feel powerless, because there's nothing they can do about the increased rates.

Schaffer says he doesn't expect the rate to change when it goes to a vote on Nov. 19.