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Tax Debt for Subsidy of Water and Sewer Budget and High School

Water and Sewer Tax Subsidy Phases Out
Arlington is one of 61 communities that utilizes the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) for water and sewer services at the cost of about $18 million per year to the Town. The Town has charged ¾ of these costs through the Water and Sewer Department, (whose revenue is collected through residents’ water bills) and ¼ of these costs has been paid for by taxpayers. Putting ¼ of the costs onto residents’ tax bills, as opposed to paying the whole amount through water bills, allowed residents to deduct part of their utility bills from their federal taxes. Taxes were deductible, but water and sewer fees were not. In 2018, the federal government changed the tax code and limited state and local tax deductions to $10,000, beginning in 2019.
The Select Board revisited this policy, since few residents were receiving any benefit from it. In February 2020, it voted to eliminate the tax subsidy over three years, starting with the FY2021 water and sewer bills. This period coincides with tax increases related to building a new Arlington High School, as approved by voters at the 2019 override.
In FY2021, and subsequent years, the increase in tax bills for the High School will be significantly offset by a decrease in tax bills because of the phase out of the tax subsidy. However, water and sewer bills will increase. The Select Board felt that utility rates should reflect actual usage and the Water and Sewer Department should be funded 100% by ratepayers as is done in most other Massachusetts communities. 
Learn about Arlington's Water Meter Replacement Program
The Water and Sewer Department performs many of the infrastructure improvements in the Town in addition to responding to emergency calls on water, sewer and drainage systems. Maintenance of these systems is a major responsibility as well. Arlington relies on the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) for water and sewer services.
MWRA InformationThe Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) provides wholesale Water & Sewer services to Arlington. Their website is a great resource for understanding their services and systems as well as find current news on information that i
mpact our Water and Sewer services.

MWRA Consumer Confidence Report- Includes information on Arlington's water quality and helpful tips to conserve water.

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