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On Tuesday, March 19th, 2019, the Chicopee City Council approved the merger of the Water and Sewer Commissions. The merger will provide our customers a single commission to address all their water and sewer service needs. Mayor Richard J. Kos would like to thank, Representative Joseph Wagner, the City Council, our volunteer commissioners, and City staff who have worked to ensure a smooth transition and to make this long sought merger a reality.
“We actually first looked at this in 2003 during my first tenure as Mayor and I am pleased that we finally accomplished this merger. It will benefit our Customers and it will benefit our City,” said Mayor Richard J. Kos.
Previously, the Water and Sewer Commissions were separate entities that met at separate times, and at separate places. Each commission acted independently, but dealt with the same issues related to finances, construction activity, billing, collection of fees, liens, and customer service. However, independent action on any of these issues usually had some sort of effect on the other commission.
The new combined Water and Sewer Commission will have seven (7) members that are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Chicopee City Council. The new combined Water and Sewer Commission will be more effective and responsive to customer/resident requests, as well as to water and sewer departmental operational needs like those that follow:
One-Stop Customer Service/Abatement Process – Previously, Water and Sewer customer service and abatement policies were separate. This required customers to go through separate petitions and separate commission meetings to address abatement requests and any service concerns. Depending on commission meeting schedules, customers may have had to wait more than 30 days to get a final decision on their abatement request. New streamlined ordinances and a single meeting with the combined commission will create a one-stop solution for residents.
Customer Service/Billing – Water, Sewer, and Storm charges are included on a single customer bill. Since sewer charges are based on water usage, any billing issue will now be handled by one commission.
Water and Sewer Rates – The combined commission will focus on the combined needs of water and sewer and the overall effect both rates will have on the customer base of the City’s residents.
Grant Funding – State/Federal grant applications and administration are similar for both water and sewer. Applying for, and accepting grants for sewer projects will affect water funding/water rates, just as water grants will affect sewer funding decisions. The combined commission view will provide oversight and coordination and enhance our ability to obtain these future funding opportunities.