State Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69) on Wednesday asked the Bristol County Water Authority to reschedule tonight's 6 pm meeting at Warren Town Hall, the second of three public hearings on proposed water rate hikes — and as of 2:30 pm today, the meeting looked likely to go on as planned.
In an email sent on Jan. 2, Gallison asked BCWA Director Pamela Marchand to consider moving the meeting into February because Bristol customers would not have received notice of the session until today's publication of The Bristol Phoenix.
[Bristol-Warren Patch posted an announcement of the meeting on Wednesday morning.]
"Clearly, this is not enough time for Bristol ratepayers to be properly notified of this hearing, along with the specifics of the rate increase," Gallison wrote.
In a follow-up email message to Bristol-Warren Patch, Gallison said he attended last month's presentation and "I think [the increase] is a done deal," adding: "I would be pleasantly surprised if they held off the vote to further study all of the issues that were raised."
Marchand did not return an email seeking comment by 2:40 pm on Thursday.
Last month, the BCWA board presented the town councils of Bristol, Warren, and Barrington a proposed 28-percent rate increase over the next five years. A report on the East Bay Newspapers website suggested that the hike would effectively total 31 percent over current rates.
Under the proposal, a customer who uses 1,500 cu. ft. of water a year will see about a $12.25 boost in costs in the first year of the five-year plan, a 12-percent increase. Increases of 4 percent per year are planned for the four following years.
After tonight's meeting, the BCWA board is scheduled to hold a meeting on Jan. 9 to vote on the proposed increases.
Watch for coverage of the BCWA meeting tomorrow morning on Patch.