Growing opposition to sewer rate hike
State utility officials have heard opposition to a proposed sewer rate increase and surcharge from 70 Morgan County sewer customers so far, even before holding their official hearing about the rate hike.
That hearing, sponsored by the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC), will be held next Wednesday, June 15 at 1:30 p.m. in the third-floor Circuit Courtroom of the Morgan County Courthouse.
Individuals affected by the proposed rate are invited to attend and weigh in on the increase.
So far, the PSC has received seven individual letters of protest and a petition against the increase, signed by 63 individuals
Rate hike & surcharge
In November 2010, local sewer officials asked for 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.
A 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 Sewer Manager Rodney Hovermale.
The 3.2% rate increase would be permanent, if granted by the state.
State utility officials have already advised against the increase, saying they think the department should have enough money to cover payments on its bond debt.
The board of the Warm Springs Public Service District opted to appeal that recommendation, causing the PSC to hold the June 15 hearing to seek further public comment.
A final decision about the proposed rates will be rendered by July 25.