With more than half the country´s fire hydrants in need of repairs or upgrades, the agency that regulates public services in Costa Rica has proposed imposing a higher fee on residents to finance the improvements.
In a statement to the press Friday, the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) announced its plan to raise the tax charged to residents. As the hydrants fall under the umbrella of public services, ARESEP is given the authority over the maintenance of the hydrants as well as the power to set fees.
A meeting to discuss the proposal will take place today.
Residents served by the Public Services Company of Heredia will see a 5.05 percent increase in the fee, while customers of the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA), will be charged an additional 4.56 percent. If approved, as expected, residents will see a few cents added to their water bill each month.
According to Costa Rican firefighters, there are only 6,126 operating fire hydrants in Costa Rica. The firefighters say the country needs almost double that number, and plan to put in place more than 12,000 new hydrants – of which 1,666, located near hospitals, industrial centers, or other heavily trafficked areas – are a top priority.
According to ARESEP, the increased fees will cover the purchase and installation of the new equipment.