There has been a lot of discussion recently about water rates in the Lakeview area and the possibility of the rates going up, which has drawn a lot of ire both online and in the form of people sending comments to Lakeview Town Hall.

With a $10 million water improvement project proposed and most of the money coming from a low interest loan, it is no surprise that rates will need to go up in the community.

Rates have not increased since 2009, when the last rate increase was passed. There is discussion that during the last rate increase the Lakeview Town Council passed a resolution to continually have rate increases based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) every year, meaning rates would go up automatically. But for reasons that are unclear, that resolution was never enforced.

While the percentage of the rate increases will come as a shock to many people, what is proposed is to take what should have happened slowly over the pass 11 years and do it in a couple of years. Even with the proposed rate increases it will still not be enough to meet the interest on the payment for the water improvement project. From reading about the process and how the Greensand will work, I believe it will dramatically improve the water in the community.

With a new water treatment facility, where a good portion of the cost will go, and work on the wells, the quality of the community’s water should dramatically improve. Other communities that have suffered from similar water quality issues have built a water treatment facility using Greensand to take out some of the heavy metals and the like from their water, which is what Lakeview suffers from. Even though there are some older pipes between the main line and homes, for the vast majority of residents, the water treatment facility will vastly improve their water.

But the money for the project has to come from somewhere and must be repaid, even if it is at a low interest rate. This is similar to the North End water project, which is being paid back by the companies connecting to the system. The Town was given a loan at an incredibly low interest rate, since interest rates are at historic lows, and while the Town can apply for grants to help cover some of the costs, it would find it difficult to find enough grant money in a timely fashion to cover the entire cost of the project while keeping water rates the same. Additionally, many granting organizations are facing funding shortfalls and more people wanting money; they have to make tough decisions about who gets funding and who does not.

While there have been many people complaining, those with the loudest voices have not really come up with any ideas or alternatives to fund the water treatment project. Mostly it has been complaints about the color of the water, but no mention of the fact that the project would solve that issue. But to pay for the project to make those improvements possible, rates will need to go up. It would be nice if those complaining the loudest actually brought some ideas forward, rather than just yelling.

— Kevin Winter

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