FINCASTLE – Town Council opted to approve a one-time water and sewer connection fee increase at its December meeting, but not to up the rates given the current health crisis.
After hearing from the public about raising the water and sewer rates for customers on its system, council decided not to impose a 2 percent increase on the base rate only, plus a 2 percent water only and sewer only customers during the calendar 2021.
At its November meeting, council heard rate hikes would average about 70 cents per month. A customer using 3,000 gallons each month would see their bill inch from $67.37 to $68.07.
The hook-up fee went from $9,000 to $12,000. During its November council meeting, members heard even $12,000 is still below the average fees charged by other municipalities in the state.
“Over the past several years, council has opted in most years to have a small increase based on the Consumer Price Index at the time,” explained Town Manager David Tickner on why council was considering a rate increase. “This is basically an adjustment for the cost of inflation, to maintain a stable and fair price structure that balances costs versus revenues over the next year.”
After the public hearing, council opted to increase the one-time water and sewer connection fees and to hold water and sewer usage rates at their current levels.
“The majority of council felt that during the current health crisis, it was not an appropriate time to raise the rates,” he said.
The next council meeting is slated for Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. There is a possibility the meeting could be virtual; if not, it will be held in the Old District Court Meeting Room, 5 W. Main Street in Fincastle.