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Details fuzzy on utility revenue increase

Details regarding a potential 14 percent increase in utility revenues in the fiscal year 2016-17 budget for Cumberland County are still unknown.

“Any proposal for amendment, it’s all being developed at this time,” said Cumberland County Administrator and County Attorney Vivian Seay Giles on Monday.

Discussion of the increase in utility revenues was not on the agenda for the county supervisors’ regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, and as of Monday morning, no special meeting was planned to take place prior to the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

On the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting was a budget amendment to the current fiscal year’s budget, which included, as advertised, a proposed transfer of $150,000 to the utilities fund. Giles said on Monday that this proposed transfer does not impact the increase in utility revenues that is part of the 2016-17 budget.

When Giles proposed the 2016-17 budget earlier this year, it was made known that the increase in utility revenues would come from increased fees — which supervisors had been considering for months — and increased collections. “But, primarily a rate increase, because that’s what I’ve recommended,” Giles said. “It’s not a pure 14 percent. We have different categories. But, I’m just assuming, for budget purposes, that our total revenue will go up about that much.”