Water rates increasing in Wattsville
by Elsie Hodnett
WATTSVILLE – Most residents will see an increase on their water bill this month, depending on their water usage.

“The basic residential rate has not changed and is still $18.40,” said Wattsville Water Authority Office Manager Miranda Spradley.

Spradley said the water was previously billed on a decreasing rate schedule per 1,000 gallons more than the 2,000-gallon minimum. Now it is a flat rate of $4.46 per 1,000 gallons extra after the minimum usage.

“The users who use more water will see more of an increase,” she said.

Spradley said a customer who used 3,000 gallons was previously charged 21.75. With the new rate increase, that customer will pay $22.86 for $3,000 gallons, a $1.09 increase. A customer who used 15,000 gallons was previously charged $51.31. Now a customer using 15,000 gallons will pay $76.38, a $25.07 increase.

Wattsville Water Authority Board Chairman Larry Buckner said the water rate increase was approved in January and went into effect in February. The rate increase also created three new categories of water users: commercial, industrial and farm.

“Creating the new categories was a more fair way of raising water rates,” he said. “And in the future, we can adjust the categories separately without affecting the other categories, if we need to.”

Buckner said the authority has not raised water rates since 2008.

“When we looked at increases in operating expenses, we just didn’t see any way to continue without a rate increase,” he said. “This will help for now, and I hope we can go another five years without an increase. We will go as long as we can without raising rates again.”

Buckner said approximately 25 percent of customers are billed the minimum usage each month.

Spradley said the new commercial rate is $50 minimum charge for the first 2,000 gallons and $4.46 per thousand above the minimum. The industrial rate is $75 minimum charge for the first 2,000 gallons and $4.46 per thousand above the minimum. The farm rate is $40 minimum charge for the first 2,000 gallons and $1.75 per thousand gallons for the first 100,000 gallons above the minimum and $1.01 per thousand gallons over the first 100,000 gallons.

Buckner said the authority is not purchasing Coosa Valley Water Supply District water at this time.

The Wattsville Water Authority meets on the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the water authority.

The city of Riverside also had its annual water rate increase in January. The rates went from $14.46 minimum charge for 2,000 gallons minimum for residents inside city limits to $19 per 3,000 gallons minimum. Residents outside city limits went from $17.83 minimum charge for 2,000 gallons to $26 per 3,000 gallons minimum. All usage over 3,000 gallons is $4 per 1,000 gallons. Non-residential and commercial customers saw similar rate changes and a new minimum of 3,000 gallons usage.

The New London Water, Sewer & Fire Protection Authority has not raised water rates in several years, according to Office Manager Louise Pike.

“The current rate is a minimum of 2,500 gallons and cost $10.58 plus a 42-cent tax and $3 fire dues for a total of $14,” she said. “The next 2,500 gallons over the minimum is $3.25 per thousand, then the next 3,000 gallons is $2.45 per thousand, the next 2,000 is $2.03 per thousand, the next 5,000 gallons is $1.30 per thousand, the next 5,000 gallons is $2.40 per thousand, and more than 20,000 gallons is $2.10 per 1,000 gallons.”

Pike said additional gallons are subject to the 4 percent state tax.

“We are proud of our water system,” she said. “We have a little over $1 million in surplus, in case we need a new well.”

Pike said New London has not looked at purchasing Coosa Valley Water Supply District water.

“We have plenty of water and no debt,” she said. “We haven’t looked at the Coosa Valley water because our wells test so good and our water is so good.”

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

© 2013