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Town Proposes Water, Sewer Rate Increases

FARMVILLE – Town Council is proposing an increase in water and sewer rates that would see the minimum bill rise by $5.54 every two months, or about $2.25 per month, from $36.33 to $41.87 every two months.

The Town last raised water and sewer rates in 2007.

The proposed rates will be subject to a public hearing next month and, if adopted, would take effect with the first bill in 2011, which would be in February.

The increase would generate an additional $540,843 for the Town each year and at a time when Farmville is looking for additional revenue to make ends meet.

When asked during last week's October monthly meeting by council member Donald L. Hunter how Farmville's rates, even with the increase, would fare in comparison with other localities of a similar size, Town Manager Gerald Spates answered, “very low. And we bill every two months.”

Looking at the proposed increase, council member Dr. Edward I. Gordon noted that the average household would see the water and sewer bill increase from $36.33 to $41.87 and said, “that's still very low in comparison with other localities.”

Hunter spoke about “easing the pain” of Town residents in light of the economy while doing “something we know we have to do” but keeping the new rate “as low as we can.”

Yes, agreed Dr. Gordon, “we're forced into doing something we don't like to do but I think we're doing it in a modest way that won't be too painful.”

Echoing a recurring theme, fellow council member David E. Whitus noted, “I think we need to remember we bill every two months. If you look at the minimum bill, it's $41.87. But if you break it down it's about $20.50 a month. If you look at it on a monthly basis, the minimum bill for water and sewer is less than $21 in town.

“The Town,” Whitus said, “has done a great job over the years in keeping these rates low.”

The minimum out of town rate would increase from $54.50 every two months to $62.81.

The proposed rate schedule would see the minimum charge-for the first 3,000 gallons-increase from $17.30 to $19.03. From 3,001 to 20,000 gallons, per 1,000 gallons, the increase would be from $2.66 to $2.93. And for use of more than 20,001 gallons, the per 1,000-gallon rate would rise from $4 to $4.40.

For customers in town averaging about 10,000 gallons of water use per two month the bill would increase from $75.43 to $86.99 every two months.

For out of town customers, the 10,000 gallon average would see their bill rise from $113.15 to $130.57 every two months.

In town customers averaging 22,000 gallons every two months would see an increase from $148.09 to $170.81 every two months.

Those out of town averaging 22,000 gallons every two months would notice their bill increase from $222.14 to $256.41 every two months.

In addition to the rate increase, which would see sewer bills increase from 110 percent of your water use to 120 percent and water rates increase by 10 percent, there are proposed deposit increases, too, for new water accounts.

In town deposits would rise from $75 to $100, with out of town deposits going from $120 to $150.

Commercial consumers would see deposits rise in town from $150 to $200 for use in excess of 20,000 gallons per two months, with out of town deposits rising from $225 to $300.