By Aimee Chiavaroli
Students should get their wallets ready. Cost of room and board is likely to increase if Brockton bills Stonehill for the College’s buildings resting within one meter in the new sewerage contract.
Each building has a ‘meter,’ which indicates how much water is used, so the city knows how much to bill for.
The first contract dates back to 1967. The federal government offered grants to large towns with sewerage contracts, or waste-water treatment plants. Brockton asked Stonehill to be included.
In a 1997 contract, the city asked Stonehill to put all buildings on separate meters, said Vice President of Advancement Fran Dillon. There were two billing plans on this contract: a residence rate and a commercial rate.
Now, Brockton wants to bill Stonehill for one meter, adding up all the meters with the same rate, which will give the city more money. This would cost Stonehill over $400,000, while they pay about $300,000 now.
“We want to be fair to the city and fair to Stonehill, particularly the students and families who pay the bills,” Dillon said.
Stonehill suggests billing all non-residential buildings as if they are on one meter, he said. The residence buildings should be treated as if they are apartments in Brockton, Dillon said. Since there are more non-residential buildings on campus than residence halls, this plan would increase the College’s bill from the city.
Stonehill has been increasing efficiency in water use, recently installing showerheads that use less water, and sprinklers that only use well water. But, while Stonehill reduces water usage, the cost increases.
“Stonehill has been a very good partner to the economic impact of the city,” Dillon said.
The College gives back to the city through food from the farm at Stonehill, community based learning classes which collaborates with programs in the city, and the services offered by the Center for Nonprofit Management, many of which are offered free of charge.
“Negotiations have been fruitful, honest, sharing perspectives and suggestions,” Dillon said. However, negotiations are still ongoing.