Water Customers Face Rate Hike

Budget Gets 1st Reading, H-Tax Sails Through

RIDGEWAY – Water and sewer customers served by the Ridgeway system are facing another rate increase as part of the Town’s 2015-2016 budget, as Town Council passed first reading of an ordinance during their May 14 meeting to pass along a rate hike from their supplier, the Town of Winnsboro.

During Council’s April 9 meeting, Councilman Doug Porter said Winnsboro’s rates were going up 98 cents per 1,000 gallons across the board. Last week’s first reading upped that to an even $1.

Residential water customers inside the Town limits will see their rate for the first 1,000 gallons go up to $16, and will pay $6.07 for each additional 1,000 gallons. Residential customers outside the Town limits will be paying $21 for the first 1,000 gallons and $7.32 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Commercial water rates inside the Town limits are going up to $19 for the first 1,000 gallons and $6.07 for each additional 1,000. Those rates outside the Town limits will be $24 for the first 1,000 gallons and $7.32 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Residential sewer rates for customers inside the Town limits will increase to $13 for the first 1,000 gallons and $5.42 for each additional 1,000 gallons. Outside the Town limits, those rates are going up to $14 for the first 1,000 gallons and $6.57 for each additional 1,000 gallons. The flat rate for residential sewer customers will now be $26.

Commercial sewer rates inside the Town limits are increasing to $17 for the first 1,000 gallons and $5.57 for each additional 1,000 gallons. Outside the Town limits, those rates are going to $20 and $6.57, respectively.

Hospitality Tax

Ridgeway’s proposed hospitality tax cleared its final reading during the May 14 meeting without opposition. The tax will be levied at 2 percent, the legal maximum, “on the gross proceeds of the sale of prepared meals and beverages in establishments within the Town of Ridgeway,” the ordinance (4-1007) states.

Effective Aug. 1, the tax will be due the Town by the 20th of each month. Taxes not paid on time will be subject to a late fee of 5 percent of the sum owed. Failure to pay will be considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or 30 days in jail, or both.

During Council’s discussion of the tax in March, Councilman Russ Brown said the revenue could go toward tourism-related, cultural, recreational or historic facilities, as well as highways, roads, streets or bridges providing access to tourist destinations. The revenue could also go toward advertising and promotion of tourism development, and to water and sewer infrastructure serving tourism-related facilities. The funds could go toward preserving the arch on the old school property, and for promoting Pig on the Ridge, Arts on the Ridge and other Town events.

Budget

Council also passed first reading of a $222,840 general fund budget and a $364,636 water and sewer fund budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Salaries take up the lion’s share of expenses at $75,600, while the entire police department’s share of the budget weighs in at $71,240.

The general fund is up slightly from last year’s $217,550, with the water and sewer fund up from $359,355 last year.

During last month’s budget discussions, Mayor Charlene Herring suggested a review of the Town’s business license fee, which she said had not been raised since 1987. Last week’s first reading, however, included no increase in the fees, with the line item showing $5,040 in income.

 

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