North Granville water rates to double
Costs associated with operation of the North Granville water district have led officials to enact steep rate hikes for users outside of the district.
The increases will go into effect in October, raising costs to water customers who do not geographically reside in the water district by 50 percent.
The increase will affect approximately 36 water customers who reside outside of the water district, officials said.
Other fees are being added or increased as well.
Those inside the water district will see an increase in the rates, but not nearly as much –rising 10 percent, affecting more than 150 users. Officials said the entire district contains fewer than 300 water customers.
“The whole district is very small for the operation we have; that’s why it costs so much,” water district superintendent John Tanner said.
The town spent $53,000 to finish installing a system that allows the district to process surface water for drinking in 2006, financing $40,000.
Town accountant Joel Carpenter said he thought the rate change should take effect immediately because he was apprehensive about water district finances, “I’m concerned because we could be out of money in this fund,” he said.
When asked how people would find out about the rate hike, town board member Matt Rathbun said, “Oh, they’ll hear about it; it’ll be a headline.”
Rathbun added notification had to be given to allow those who might choose to change their water service based on the rate hike, to possibly drill a well, time to act.
“Last year revenue exceeded expenses by just $493,” Carpenter said. “We have the potential of being really short.”
In early 2008 the board transferred funds to cover $17,000 spent on the water district that had not been anticipated. Carpenter said at that time he hoped to plan for increased expenses in the next budget.
Carpenter said water tests required by the state, as well as a lack of reserve funds for repairs to the necessary equipment and overall reduced water use made the water district increasingly costly to operate and necessitated the rate increases.
Tanner said testing had been going well lately and he hoped that would lead to lessened testing requirements by the state, which would allow the district to save some money in the future.
Costs associated with the water district led officials to form a committee to look into the issue and their determination was increased fees and rates. Users inside of the water district also pay a water levy based on the assessment of the residence while those outside pay for use only. The levy was increased dramatically last year, officials said, but no increase was made in the rates – water users who did not pay taxes in the water district therefore did not face any increase.
Fees include hookup to the water system, $350; boring under the road, $200; and a frozen meter charge of $50. A new fee of $250 will be charged for installation of a water meter. Users both inside and outside will have a minimum bill with those outside paying $50, inside $24.
Those minimum fees apply to water usage up to 6,100 gallons per quarter outside and 7,850 gallons inside the water district.
Beyond those usages outside residents could expect to see a rate of $10.78 per 1,000 gallons up to 20,000 gallons; $12.78 per 1,000 gallons from 20,001 to 25,000 gallons; and $14.78 per 1,000 gallons for anything in excess of 25,000 gallons.
Residents inside the district could expect to see a rate of $3.08 per 1,000 gallons up to 20,000 gallons; $4.18 per 1,000 gallons from 20,001 to 25,000 gallons; and $5.28 per 1,000 gallons for anything in excess of 25,000 gallons.
Board member Mary Emery reminded the board those outside of the district were still getting a bargain despite the rate increase because she recalled the cost was much higher for them years ago.