Buffalo, N.Y. - The Erie County Water Authority, which has come under repeated criticism for its hiring practices and salaries, is increasing bills in 2013.
On Thursday, the authority's three commissioners approved a budget that will add a $12 annual infrastructure surcharge to next year's bills.
The authority says the money raised through the surcharge will be dedicated to paying for major infrastructure upgrades at the authority's two water treatment plants and for new water mains, among other capital projects.
With the new surcharge, a typical customer will see their bill increase from $260 to $272 next year.
Next year in the budget we passed, we're talking about investing $20 million in infrastructure, and the whole point of that is to keep our costs down long term and make sure we're providing the service that ratepayers expect from us," said Jack O'Donnell one of the three commissioners.
The authority is not cutting any jobs as part of its new budget.
2 On Your Side revealed over the summer that the Authority had hired the future sister-in-law of Erie County Republican chairman Nick Langworthy for a $55,000 a year job as a secretary, the authority also hired County Executive Mark Poloncarz's brother for a $55,000 a year job to monitor the contracts that the Water Authority enters into.
Both were hired on a temporary basis without the jobs first being posted to the public.
The Authority says both will have to take civil service tests during the first half of 2013, and be among the top three scorers, in order to keep their jobs permanently.
The Authority says its water rates are the second lowest in Western New York.