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South Bristol to rehash disputed sewer rate hike

The status of a disputed 64 percent sewer rate hike lodged on residents of Bristol Harbour Village remains unresolved. The Town Board will hold a workshop Saturday to discuss financial statements from Bristol Sewage Disposal Corp.— statements submitted by a December deadline but deemed unacceptable by the board.

At issue is detail the Town Board seeks on how funds from the rate hike are being spent.

The board in 2017 approved the rate increase Bristol Sewage Disposal Corp. requested, which is meant to pay off debt and to fund capital reserves. At a meeting in December the board hashed out the matter with representatives from the sewage corporation and Bristol Harbour Village Association. Attorneys for the sewer corporation argued the board received what was required under the rate-hike agreement. Discussion centered on whether the information provided satisfies the question of whether the rate hike is fair and reasonable.

About 360 households that comprise Bristol Harbour Village are affected by the increase that was instituted more than a year ago. Last year, the Town Board and the Sewage Disposal Corp. survived a legal challenge from Bristol Harbour Village Association over the rate hike. State Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran ruled to dismiss the Article 78 civil suit. The BHVA is weighing whether to appeal.

The Town Board had approved the increase for several reasons. Town Supervisor Dan Marshall noted that Bristol Harbour Village hadn’t seen a sewer rate increase since 1984 and since then, the sewer system had required costly upgrades. At the same time, the board set conditions about financial information it should receive.

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