Water And Sewer Rates, Connection Fees

Published 3:07 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

FARMVILLE – Town Council voted unanimously last week to raise water and sewer rates, connection fees and deposits.

The new water and sewer use rates will take effect in January, showing up on the February bi-monthly bill.

The new connection or tap fees take immediate effect, with the exception of commitments made to two projects prior to council's vote during its regular November monthly meeting.

This marks the second year in a row that Town Council has raised the rates but Town Manager Gerald Spates compared the new rates with those in comparable towns to show Farmville still charges significantly less than some similar localities do.

No residents spoke during a public hearing on the proposed increases.

According to information provided by the Town, the in-town bi-monthly bill for up to 3,000 gallons of water will increase by $5.44, with a $7.95 increase for use up to 5,000 gallons, $14.22 for usage up to 10,000 gallons, a $20.49 hike for use up to 15,000 gallons, a $26.76

The out-of-town rates for those same usages will increase by $8.16, $11.92, $21.33, $30.73, $40.14, and $50.04, respectively.

Restaurants in town will see their bimonthly bill increase by $79.56, $105.96 or $158.76, depending on usage.

Out-of-town restaurants will face increases of $119.34, $158.94 and $238.14 in their bi-monthly bill, depending upon usage.

The Town's sewer bill, meanwhile, is equal to 120 percent of a customer's water use.

Spates Compares

While Town Council was holding the public hearing on the increases, and after it was clear no residents were going to speak, Spates presented his cost comparison, saying what would cost $79.74 for two months of water and sewer service in Blackstone costs Farmville customers $47.30.

“You take a customer and compare us with Blackstone, take a customer for two months that uses the minimum in Blackstone, they'd pay $79.74 for two months. Here they pay $47.30,” Spates said.

A bill based on 10,000 gallons of usage over two months would see a $132.86 bill in Blackstone, $166.70 in Appomattox, and $122 in South Hill, according to Spates.

As for connection fees, Spates said the state average is $12,663. “We charge $6,500, and all these rates that I'm quoting for us are the new rates. Not the old rates but the new rates,” Spates noted, before moving to real estate tax comparisons.

“While we're talking about those rates, I just did a comparison-with real estate, with communities about our size. Farmville, our rate is 12 cents per $100, which is the rate we just went to. South Boston's 19 cents per $100. South Hill is 34 cents per $100.”

Other towns also have personal property taxes, taxing the vehicles of town residents.

“We have personal property tax on businesses and business vehicles only; we take in $195,000. South Boston is $425,000. South Hill is $495,000,” Spates continued.

“And our meals tax, we're at seven percent, South Boston's at four percent, and South Hill is 5.5 percent,” he added.

“So what I tried to do was compare us to towns similar to us. Most towns have a vehicle tax, just like the County's. You take a look at South Hill, there's is a dollar and five cents per hundred, and that's on your vehicle, the same as what you get from the county, but it would be an addition.”

The Town of Farmville once considered creating its own town-wide personal property tax, Spates said.

“We looked at that at one time and we felt that doing that would be unfair to the taxpayers in town to add that,” he said, before concluding that “if you take a look at our rates, especially our real estate tax and the water and sewer, those are the new rates, some of these other ones (localities) have probably gone up since that report was done and since we're gotten this information from surrounding counties. So I think our rates are very competitive, both on real estate and also on water and sewer.”

Other Items

Among other items from its November meeting, council:

Denied a request from Downtown Farmville for free parking on Main Street, with a two-hour limit, during the holiday season. Council's vote concurred with the recommendation from its street committee.

Approved a proposed employee Christmas dinner, at an estimated cost of $4,000. Council member Sally Thompson had suggested Town Council members make personal donations to help offset the cost but that was not included in the motion.

Took steps to act as fiscal agent for a grant application by the Moton Museum. A public hearing will be held in conjunction with council's December 14 monthly meeting. The proposed grant application will seek funding through the Transportation Enhancement Program for the Robert Russa Moton Museum Civil Rights In Education Heritage Trail Tourist Center. The museum is seeking $302,662 and the required 20 percent match will be provided by the museum through private donations.

Stay tuned to The Herald for continued coverage from November's Town Council meeting.