Water, sewer rates may increase

Changes proposed to account for lower overall usage

May 13, 2001|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Thousands of residents of South Carroll's Freedom area, the county's most populous region, might soon have to pay more for public water and sewer service. It would be the second rate increase in two years.

The county commissioners are weighing a proposal that would raise water and sewer rates for the average consumer by about 6 percent in fiscal 2002, which will begin July 1. County Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman will discuss the proposed changes at a public meeting tomorrow at Liberty High School in Eldersburg.

"The overall volume of usage went down, which means we have to increase the rates to meet our net revenue requirements," Curfman said.

He said the county must collect about $2 million annually from its water customers and an additional $2.4 million from its sewer customers to pay for the day-to-day cost of operating the county's water treatment plant, which has a daily capacity of 3 million gallons. The water comes from Liberty Reservoir, which is owned by Baltimore.

Nearly 7,000 households use public water, and about 7,200 households use public sewer service. The majority of the county's customers live in the Freedom area, which includes all of South Carroll and its 28,000 residents. The rate increases also would affect some residents of Hampstead, Pleasant Valley and Bark Hill.

The increase would be about $10 a quarter for a household using the average of about 25,000 gallons of water each quarter, according to county figures. Such a household pays $157.33 per quarter for water and sewer service. Under the proposed rate changes, it would be billed $167.85.

The county's public utility customers pay a base charge each quarter of $8.44 for water and $12.19 for sewer service, and usage fees that are based on the volume of water they use.

Low-volume customers, those using up to 10,000 gallons of water per quarter, are charged usage fees of $1.97 per 1,000 gallons of water and $3.15 per 1,000 gallons of sewage treated. Those who use between 10,001 gallons and 30,000 gallons pay $2.44 per 1,000 gallons of water and $3.26 per 1,000 gallons of sewage treated. Those who consume 30,001 gallons or more per quarter pay $1.68 per 1,000 gallons of water and $3.23 per 1,000 gallons of sewage treated.

Under Curfman's proposal, the base charges would be cut to $7.68 per quarter for water and $11.52 per quarter for sewer service, and the usage fees would rise. Low-volume users would be charged $2.14 per 1,000 gallons of water and $3.17 per 1,000 gallons of sewage; mid-volume users would pay $2.97 per 1,000 gallons of water and $3.40 per 1,000 gallons of sewage; and high-volume users would pay $2.30 per 1,000 gallons of water and $3.31 per 1,000 gallons of sewage.

The county's public utility rates were last raised two years ago, when the county increased the rates by about 5 percent to cover debt service incurred by the county for capital projects. Those projects totaled $2.5 million and included expansion of the county's water treatment plant.

The debt service for those projects was about $200,000, and that was the amount generated by the rate increase that was adopted by the commissioners in May 1999. Tomorrow's public meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Liberty High School, 5885 Bartholow Road. Other public meetings on the rate changes are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on:

Tuesday at Pleasant Valley Fire Hall, 2030 Pleasant Valley Road, Westminster.

Wednesday at North Carroll High School, 1400 Panther Drive, Hampstead.

May 21 at Francis Scott Key High School, 3825 Bark Hill Road, Union Bridge.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.