Sewer board asks rate hike to cover bond costs
The Warm Springs Public Service District, which operates Morgan County’s public sewer systems, has asked the state to approve a 3.2% rate increase for their customers, plus a temporary surcharge based on water meter readings.
On average, the rate hike and surcharge would add $3.25 to monthly residential bills.
Sewer officials are seeking the hike despite a recommendation by the West Virginia Public Service Commission against the increase.
State utility officials responded to the local sewer department’s request to hike customer bills by saying they thought the department should have enough money to cover payments on its bond debt.
Behind on bond payments
Sewer manager Rodney Hovermale said his department is up to $80,000 behind in bond payments right now.
Hovermale said there haven’t been any unusual expenses that set the department back on payments. Instead, revenue isn’t high enough to cover basic operating expenses plus bond payments, he said.
The proposed surcharge of 43 cents per 1,000 gallons of metered water ($1.94 for flat-rate customers) would last until the sewer district got its bond payments caught up — possibly for two years, said Hovermale.
The rate increase would be permanent, if granted by the state.
A sewer rate increase last went into effect in 2009.
Public comment sought
A hearing about the rate request has already been set for Wednesday, June 15 at 1:30 p.m. in the Circuit Courtroom of the Morgan County Courthouse.
An administrative law judge will make a decision about the request by July 25.
Anyone wanting to protest the rate increase must do so in writing by May 7. Individuals can request a public hearing about the matter.
Comments should be sent to the Executive Secretary, Public Service Commission of West Virginia, P.O. Box 812, Charleston, W.Va. 25323, with a reference to case number 10-1805-PSD-19A.