Falmouth mayor says, "We hear you regarding rate increases.

City Council passes relief for residents from utility rate increase for July
It is important to note that not all of the increase in the utility bills were a result of the rate increases. Some have claimed on social media that their bill had doubled because of the rate increase. Part of those increases were as a result of increased usage and the increased usage in their bill will not be refunded or credited.

Falmouth mayor Ron Stinson made it clear that he and the council have heard the people regarding recent electric, water and sewer rate increases. At a special meeting of the Falmouth Council on Wed. Aug. 8, 2018 citizens heard the first reading of ordinances #71.24-2018 and #70.07-2018 regarding amendments to previous ordinances to raise electric, sewer and water rates for the City of Falmouth. Section 1, regarding electric rates, “That all rate increases shall be effective and issued for usage only after the effective date of the rate increase, i.e. the rate increase by Ordinance 70.06-2018, shall be issued only for the usage in August 2018, since the 2018 bill was for July 2018 usage. That any person who has made a payment based on Ordinance 70.06-2018, shall receive a credit on their next month’s bill and /or may request a refund in writing.”

Further in Section 1 of Ordinance 71.24-2018, regarding sewer and water rates, “That all rate increases shall be effective and issued for usage only after the effective date of the rate increase, i.e. the rate increase by Ordinance 71.23-2018, shall be issued only for the usage in August 2018, since the 2018 bill was for July 2018 usage. That any person who has made a payment based on Ordinance 71.23-2018, shall receive a credit on their next month’s bill and /or may request a refund in writing.”

Mayor Stinson also noted as follows, “Since this is a first reading no vote is required. A second reading is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm. At that time a possible vote will be held concerning these amendments.”

Mayor Stinson said in closing that at the Aug. 14, 2018 regular meeting of council there will be discussion regarding a new Ordinance #71.25-2018. This ordinance, among other things, sets forth the rate increases for electric, sewer and water in an incremental fashion over a six month period allowing citizens to better prepare for the total increases set forth by council.

This meeting for a first reading was adjourned.

 

Falmouth City Council, continuing its effort to, as Mayor Ron Stinson says, “Hear the people.” reconvened on Thurs. Aug. 9, 2019 for the second reading of two ordinances. One number 71.24-2018 amending section 50.40 of the code of ordinances increasing water rates, sewer rates and bulk water rates. The second ordinance number 70.07-2018 amending section 51.02 of the Falmouth code of ordinances in order to revise the monthly electric rates charged to city customers.

Both ordinances passed unanimously following a bit of discussion raised by councilman Sebastian Ernst. He wanted to know if council might wait until the regular meeting on Tues. Aug 14, 2018 so as to allow for citizen input. Councilwoman April Defalco responded that the city' residents have already spoken and that these ordinances are part of council’s response. At this point, Defalco moved to bring to a vote ordinance 70.07-2018 and Councilwoman Amy Hitch provided a second. The ordinance passed. Councilwoman Joyce Carson then moved to bring ordinance 71-24-2018 to a vote and Councilwoman Amy Hurst provided a second. The vote in favor was unanimous.

At this point City Clerk Chrissy O’Hara provided input regarding just how the credit or refund would work. “Any person who has made a payment on their current bill based on ordinance 70.06-2018, or ordinance 71.23-2018 is now entitled to receive a credit on their next month’s bill and /or may request a refund in writing. Those requests for refund forms can be obtained at the City Building. If one has already paid their bill they can simply wait and they will see a credit on next months bill.

“It is important to note that the refund of credit will be based on the rate change and not the usage of electric or water. For example, if one used 850 gallons of water in this last billing period with a charge of $64.88, their refund will be the difference between what this bill would have been at the old rate $43.23 and the new rate $64.88 or $21.65. All of our 2000 plus customers will be getting a credit or a refund as the case may be. It may take two or three business days to get these refunds/credits done as all must be processed by hand”

The meeting was adjourned. The council will meet in regular session at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14 to discuss an ordinance to incrementally introduce the utility rate increases as well as other city business.

Anyone can view videos of both of the special called meetings under videos at www.falmoouthoutlook.com.