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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Town council approves water, sewer rate hikes

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer

Rocky Mount Town Council voted Monday night to raise its water and sewer rates slowly over the next four years to balance out the cost of operations.

The vote on the rate increase was 5-1 with council member Bobby Moyer casting the dissenting vote.

"It seems like every time we turn around, council is increasing fees," Moyer said. "The taxpayers have been burdened enough."

Town Manager James Ervin said that council's Public Utilities Committee recommended that council raise water and sewer rates by 51 percent to $34.02 by 2016.

The current rate for customers who have a 3,000 gallon or less water and sewer usage per month is $22.50, Ervin said. That rate will go up by $2.52 a month, beginning in 2013, followed by an increase of $3 a month each year over the next three years.

This will bring the monthly cost to residents to $34.02 by 2016.

Out-of-town residential customers, whose current monthly bill is $45, will increase to $68.04 by 2016.

Council member Bobby Cundiff, who serves on the Public Utilities Committee, said he felt it was necessary to increase the water and sewer rates because there are capital expenses in the near future, including the replacement of a water tank that could cost up to $500,000.

Other capital improvements on the town's agenda include upgrades to the water plant that will cost $290,300. Council voted Monday night to appropriate those funds for that project.

Moyer also said he believes funds can be found elsewhere, rather than raising water and sewer rates. He cited the town's expenditures to establish a music venue, "which we know nothing about."

The town's water and sewer facilities have operated at a loss for a number of years.

In past years, the loss has been made up by transferring funds from meals tax revenue to the water and sewer operations account.

"To be fiscally sound, we need to do this (water, sewer rate increase)," said Gregg Walker, council member.

Water and sewer rates in Rocky Mount have not been increased since 2007.

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