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Usage of water is down 7 percent

But rates still going up in Southbridge

February 21, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The economy has been showing its influence in an unexpected way in Southbridge — it's causing a drop in water consumption.

"I think the economy is really [the issue] — We've had businesses reduce shifts and even close, and residents are using less," said DPW Director Ken Kalinowski. "I didn't expect to see this much of a drop. The numbers have been trending down over the last one-and-a-half years."

Specifically, he said the town saw a decline of about 7 percent in 2009.

Town Manager Chris Clark's weekly report noted that drop "is creating budgetary pressures that will have to be taken into account prior to setting the rates." He scheduled the annual public hearing on water and sewer rates for March 4 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

Kalinowski said the town is still planning on hiking rates 3 percent, largely because costs to maintain equipment, meet staffing requirements and comply with regulations keep rising.

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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