Hancock said Blackwell told them the flat rate that Webster proposed and the town council members were leaning toward is called an incline block rate, and no town in West Virginia is using it.
The rate structure the town currently uses is called a decline block rate, in which a larger water user pays less per gallon than a more moderate user, Webster said.
Hancock said he thought the town should increase the current rate by 19.28 percent and look into the incline block rate for the future.
Hancock said he told Blackwell he knew other states use an incline block rate, as he did when he worked for a water department in Illinois. He said she asked him to find out if it is being used in the surrounding states of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Webster said she thought Maryland was using an incline block rate.
The town received a $1.85 million loan to replace the water pipes, and Webster said the town has to show the PSC that it will "have the funds to pay for it." The incline block rate would cause a "fee structure change" and the PSC would have to approve it, which might take time, she said.
Since there will be no payments until the project is over, "it buys us a little time," she said. Webster said she will recommend an increase of "a lesser amount than 19.28 percent" to the council members and work toward the incline block rate for the future.
Webster said she will call a special meeting with the town council members after May 31.
"It is up to the council," she said.
She said she called the PSC's attorney, Cass Toon, on Monday and asked for a schedule of procedures to follow for a rate increase. It would require more than a first and second ordinance reading, she said.
The Town of Bath is the local government inside Berkeley Springs.