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Water, sewer hike proposed for July 1

The King George Service Authority Board last month authorized a public hearing for a meeting on June 15 to hear from customers on proposed water and sewer rate and fee increases.
Residential bills for customers with both water and sewer who use up to 5,000 gallons per two-month billing period would go up $8.15. The minimum bi-monthly bill for water and sewer is currently $86.87.  It is proposed to go up to $95.01.
The proposed increase would be about $4.08 per month for customers with a minimum usage of 5,000 gallons per two-month billing period.  That minimum of 5,000 gallons is not planned to be changed.  

The proposed rate and fee increase for water and/or sewer customers is designed to go into effect for bills sent out in July. The new fiscal year begins July 1.  
Financial consultants last year provided the Service Authority Board with a fiscal plan that would provide planned increases annually for the next few years in an effort to get the Service Authority on track to self-sufficiency.
That way, connection fees can begin to be set aside to fund upgrades and system expansion, along with large maintenance emergencies. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.  
But the Service Authority has had to use connection fees to fund the operating budget, which is not a sustainable way of doing business.  
Service Authority General Manager Chris Thomas first presented his 2010-11 budget recommendation at a meeting early in the calendar year, with additional work sessions and budget discussions at subsequent regular meetings. The budget proposal incorporates the proposed increases.  
Since January, the Service Authority Board has been mulling a budget that incorporates the proposed rate increase of 5 percent for water and water debt service fees and an increase of 12 percent for sewer and sewer debt service fees.
It also includes a proposal to increase connection charges by 5 percent for water connections and an increase of 12 percent for sewer connection charges.  
There is also an increase for all non-residential customers, which refers to commercial and retail customers.  Those will be charged additional debt service fees based on the size of their meters.

PROPOSED USAGE RATE HIKES    
The proposed rate and fee hikes under consideration would affect utility usage fees for Service Authority customers with water, sewer, or both services.  
Basing the charges on a minimum usage of 5,000 gallons per two-month billing period will not change.  
It is important to remember that Service Authority customers receive six bills per year, with billing and minimum usage predicated on bi-monthly billing.
WATER:  The usage rates are anticipated to go from $3.51 to $3.68 per 1,000 gallons for water for a 5,000-gallon minimum usage. The flat fee for debt service for water would go from $15 to $15.75.
Under those proposed increases, the minimum bill for water-only is proposed to go from the current $32.55 to $34.15 for two months of service.
SEWER: The usage rates are proposed to go from $6.86 to $7.69 per 1,000 gallons for sewer for a 5,000-gallon minimum usage. The flat fee for debt service for sewer would go from $20 to $22.40.
Those proposed increases would result in two-month bills of $60.85 for 5,000 gallon minimum usage for sewer-only.
WATER & SEWER: The bills for customers with both water and sewer service would increase by about 9 percent.
The minimum bills for customers using up to 5,000 gallons for 60 days would go from the current $86.87 to $95.01 every two months for customers with water and sewer service, including the new restructured flat rate debt service fees.  

Phyllis Cook
Staff reporter

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