Shepherdstown residents face water rate hike

January 14, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherdstown residents may face a 15 percent increase in their water bills starting in May.

The town council approved an amendment on its first reading at Tuesday night's meeting to raise water rates and most connection charges.

The proposal next goes to a public hearing on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall where residents can comment on the rate hike. A second reading of the amendment would then be required before it became an ordinance.

Under the proposal, the water rates will increase from $4.07 per 1,000 gallons to $4.68 per 1,000 for the first 2,600 gallons used.


The connection charge for a 5/8th inch standard household meter would remain the same at $500.

However, the connection charge would increase larger size meters. The charge for a 1-inch meter would increase from $500 to $702.94.

Mayor Vice Parmisano said the rate increase is needed because the water department has not been able to meet expenses and has had to dip into a reserve fund to meet the bills.

"It's been operating at a deficit for some time now," Parmisano said.

The water department has a $130,000 deficit from the past three years, he said.

A 15 percent increase in the water rates will generate about $60,000 of additional income a year, he said.

That will be enough to build the reserve account back up and to provide enough money to cover maintenance expenses, he said.

One of the reserve accounts has dropped from $140,000 to $47,000, he said.

"They haven't been depleted but they're getting to the point I'm getting nervous about it," Parmisano said.

The town had to move money from the account to make sure the town will be able to pay the repair bills on a current project.

The town currently has contractors repairing an intake valve on the Potomac River at a cost of $18,000 to $20,000, he said.

Councilman Charles Branson was the only council member who voted against the rate hike.

Branson had made a motion to approve an increase if an auditor's report justified an increase. His motion died without a second.

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