Webster said the current minimum bill of about $84.00 per quarter would increase by about $12. That rate went into effect on Oct. 18, 2008 and was reflected on the April bill.
The water department serves about 1,600 customers in town and in parts of the county.
During the public hearing, former councilman Dave Hall said he thought the increase was premature. He said the water used by Berkeley Springs State Park is free, and the state should be paying "for their fair share."
Webster said the state provides the water, but since the park uses "our treated water," there should be fair compensation but "we've hit brick walls thus far."
Councilman David Crosby, who heads up the Finance committee, said the committee will follow up on it.
Resident Jim Slough said the town council needed to continue to fight for a flat rate for the town, which was denied by the West Virginia Public Service Commission.Â Â
He said with the new rate, there is a "tremendous disparity." The residential taxpayer will pay a water rate increase of $2.69 per 1,000 gallons while the U.S. Silica industrial rate rises only 48 cents per 1,000 gallons, Slough said.Â
"We're not done with this. We can fight again later,"Â Crosby said.
"Because of our leaks, we have to upgrade. And to upgrade, we need a rate increase to pay for the project," he said. "We are responsible for running this thing, but they (PSC) control the rates," he said.Â Â
"We are caught between a rock and a hard place. We jump through hoops and they keep moving the hoop. We need to fix the pipes," Crosby said.Â
Councilman Ryan Rebant said, "I don't think anyone wants to raise rates. We have to move forward. If we don't we are doing a disservice to the community."Â
Webster said the project was included as part of the state's "shovel ready" stimulus package, and if the project is accepted, water rates would decrease.Â
The Town of Bath is the local government inside Berkeley Springs.