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A public hearing on an East Aurora proposal that would shift water bill calculations and lower costs for most residents drew praise – and some concerned comments from those who would pay more.

Among them was the owner of the car wash and residents from a costly district with both town and village water fees.

“I’ll just have to find a way to conserve,” Sam Cosmano, owner of Sammy’s Car Wash, said after the hearing at the Village Board meeting. “It’s a tough hit.”

In discussing the effect on a heavy water user like the car wash, board members said it would be difficult to modify the proposal now designed to charge commercial users for a larger portion of “operation and maintenance” costs.

A bulk discount might not encourage conservation that Cosmano was now thinking about.

He said he figured that the proposed rate change would cost him an extra $800 to $1,000 a year. “It gives us a reason to rethink,” he said.

The new billing system has yet to be voted on and would be more favorable to low water users now paying fixed operation and maintenance charges. Norm Schaaf said he expected annual $200 bills at his wife’s Punkins Patch Antiques Shop to drop by half because their water use is near zero.

By contrast, residential user Jim May said he was part of a group of about 200 Aurora residences using East Aurora water and paying fees to the town and the village in a single bill that for him was $587 last year.

“Why should I pay twice?” May asked. “I think they should sell water to us and not make us support the old infrastructure.”

Trustee Randy West explained that these town residents would be getting a discount under the proposal, since they won’t be charged for the full number of residences in the water district. “You’re getting a deal.”

email: mkearns@buffnews.com