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Plant Manager: Sewage rates associated with treatment plant could increase

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — One person associated with the Binghamton Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment plant budget said rates could increase in the near future.

The 2020 Binghamton Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant budget was discussed at city hall Tuesday.

The reason for the rate hike? It’s mainly due to the reconstruction cost of the treatment plant, which now sits at at least $275 million.

Plant staff say another potential factor for the rate hike include fines the Department of Environmental Conservation has levied due to missed construction deadlines.

“One of the deadlines was August 31st, which there is some disagreement now whether that was achieved or not,” said Charlie Pearsall, the business manager at the plant and one of the people responsible for the budget. “We had been paying $15,000 a month (in fines). I believe the DEC is certainly sympathetic to the people of the valley and the anticipated heavy fines ($37,500 a day) that would have started may be avoided.”

One factor that could help keep rates down is the plant came in under budget this year, and those savings could be passed along to the ratepayers.

However, Pearsall is not optimistic that residents of the ten municipalities the plant serves will be able to pay the same rates next year as they do this year.

“Yes, it will have to be increased realistically because their funds are going to be depleted so they’ll have to pass that on to people, and I have no control and no way to judge, but I would guess at least double what they’ve been seeing in the past years,” Pearsall said.

There will be another budget meeting Wednesday, September 18th at 5 p.m.

Josh Rosenblatt

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