March 07. 2013 12:51AM

Water rates in Derry to increase by 1 percent

Union Leader Correspondent

DERRY - The town's municipal water customers will see a slight increase in their water bills this June.

The town council recently approved a 1 percent increase in municipal water rates. The average homeowner's bill will see an increase of about $4 per year, from $348 to $352, said Tom Carrier, deputy public works director.

This is the first increase in the town's water rate since 2008, Carrier said.

"This is based on a direct pass-through of a Feb. 1 increase by Manchester Water Works of Derry's wholesale water rate," said Carrier. "Manchester Water Works is Derry's wholesale water supplier. Per our agreement with Manchester Water Works, Derry's water rate will increase by the same percentage as Manchester increases for its out-of-town retail customers, so all of Manchester's customers are seeing the same percentage of a rate increase."

The increase from Manchester impacts the Derry Municipal Water system by $4,600 for the remainder of the current fiscal year and just under $20,000 per fiscal year moving forward, according to Carrier.

"To offset that increase in expenses, the water division is proposing the 1 percent increase in municipal water rates," said Carrier.

The rate increase passed by a 5-2 vote of the council, with councilors Brian Chirichiello and Brad Benson voting against the increase.

"I can't make my last vote for a tax increase," said Chirichiello, who is not running for reelection this year after three terms on the council.

The new rates for municipal water users are $2.50 per 100 cubic feet of usage, up from $2.47, and the minimum base charge per quarter is now $23.03, up from $22.88.

"The impact on the average water user is less than a dollar per quarter," said Carrier. "Even with that proposed increase, Derry's water rates still remain 33 percent less than the state average of 16 comparable communities."

Carrier added that Derry, Manchester and Hudson are the only communities that have not increased their water rates since 2008.

There will be a notification of the impending rate increase in customers' March bills, Carrier said.