PITTSBURGH, PA (November 24, 2021) Following an announcement last week from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA), Mayor William Peduto is commending the PWSA and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) for the approval of a rate settlement to create additional funding to serve City residents with safe and reliable water, sewer and stormwater services.
The new rate plan includes funding for critical community investments, enhancing the customer assistance programs, adjusted development fees and a financial incentive for consumers to enroll in auto-pay.
Part of the rate settlement includes eliminating tap-in fees, which are fees for residential homes and new developments to connect to water and sewer services. In a letter advocating for the removal of these fees in order to remove barriers to opening a business or developing affordable housing, Mayor Peduto wrote to PUC Secretary Rosemary Chiavetta:
“These expensive fees disproportionately hurt small and independent businesses and inhibit our ability to develop much-needed affordable housing units, especially as we work to restore our economy from the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Eliminating tap-in fees would go a long way toward rebuilding our neighborhoods, recovering from the devastating impact of the pandemic, and making it easier for our residents to open a business....
The pandemic has further magnified the inequity in our society, and it is more imperative than ever that we simplify the process to develop affordable housing units. These tap-in fees add to the already growing cost of developing housing that is accessible and affordable for the residents of our communities. Abolishing this fee would enable the City of Pittsburgh to advance our goal of ensuring that all of Pittsburgh’s residents can remain in their neighborhoods and improving quality of life for all.”
A portion of the rate settlement addresses development fees for water and sewer connections to public infrastructure. A PWSA fee study completed this year recommended new permit and operations fees based on hours worked and equipment needed to provide connection services. Many costs will be reduced. The new fees will go into effect at the same time as the new monthly rates on January 12, 2022.
Mayor Peduto also supports the critical stormwater fee outlined in the settlement that will fund investment in sustainable solutions for stormwater management in response to the impacts of climate change the city has so clearly been experiencing. Increasingly frequent and intense rains cause combined sewer system to overflow into rivers and streams, flood streets and cause property damage and health concerns when basements back up. All properties across the board will be assessed so that all residents and businesses are supporting these important investments, not just PWSA water customers.
PWSA and the City are working with the Water Center at Penn and PennPraxis to create a new comprehensive stormwater management strategy that addresses the current circumstances to meet the needs of residents, PWSA and the City. Improved stormwater management will enhance water quality, alleviate flooding, reduce basement back ups, create jobs and beautify neighborhoods for safer and more resilient communities.
Additional details about PWSA’s rate settlement with PUC can be found here.