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Residential customers may see water, sewer hikes

March 19, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County water and sewer rates may increase for residential customers by about $3 each, Department Director Greg Murray said Tuesday.

The proposed rates would go into effect in fiscal year 2004, which begins on July 1, according to county documents.

Murray said the increases are needed to reduce the water and sewer debt and to build cash reserves to eventually make water and sewer operations self-supporting.

County officials said in January they expect the water and sewer debt to decrease from $46.7 million to $838,934 by 2020.

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"Our debt's going down ... We're pretty much out of the woods," Murray said by phone Tuesday afternoon.

The average residential sewer customer would see an increase of 3.3 percent, or $3.20 per quarter. Their bills would increase from $96.60 to $99.80 per quarter, Murray said.

The average residential sewer rate is based on 12,000 gallons per quarter.

Light commercial users, which typically are small businesses, would also see a $3.20 increase, Murray said.

The proposal calls for water rates to increase by $3 per quarter for the average residential customer, raising their bills from $106.60 to $109.60 per quarter.

That's an increase of 2.8 percent per quarter.

The average residential water rate also is based on 12,000 gallons per quarter.

The county has about 9,000 sewer customers and about 1,500 water customers.

The County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to advertise for a public hearing on the proposed increases.

That public hearing is to be held on April 1 in the commissioners' meeting room at 100 West Washington St.

Murray said he did not know the time of the hearing.

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