Sewer rates may increase

March 20, 2001

Sewer rates may increase


Water rates in Washington County will not increase for the second consecutive year under a proposal by county Water and Sewer Director Greg Murray.

Under the proposal, however, sewer customers would face a 2 percent rate increase when the next fiscal year begins July 1.

That increase would raise the average residential sewer customer's bill by 60 cents a month, Murray said.

Murray outlined his proposal during a Tuesday meeting of the Washington County Commissioners, who took no action. A public hearing on the proposed rate increase will be held but a hearing date has not been set.


There were sufficient cash reserves, coupled with operational savings, to avoid a water rate hike this year, Murray said.

However, the proposal calls for projected water rate increases of 2.5 percent each year from fiscal year 2003 through at least fiscal 2011.

It also calls for at least a 2 percent annual sewer fund hike each year through at least 2011.

Water or sewer rates did not increase in the current fiscal year for the first time since the commissioners took over the Washington County Sanitary Commission in December 1995 and took on its $54 million in debt.

In 1999, the commissioners increased sewer rates by 3 percent and water rates by 2.5.

As in past years, the County Commissioners are expected to subsidize three funds: Water, sewer and pretreatment. The subsidies are grants from the general fund which the commissioners do not expect will be paid back.

The county has subsidized the department by at least $12 million since 1995.

The budget calls for giving:

-- $232,400 to the water fund, down from $332,400 this year.

-- About $2.5 million to the sewer fund, up from about $2.4 million this year

-- $350,000 to the pretreatment fund, the same amount as this year.

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