Water Rates May Get Do-Over

RIDGEWAY – After passing a water rate increase more than 10 times higher than necessary to keep up with their supplier, Town Council will revisit the matter during their July 9 meeting to either correct what the Town said was an error or to let the rates stand.

The across the board $1 per 1,000 gallons increase passed final reading during Council’s June 11 meeting and was intended to coincide with what Council perceived as a 98 cents per 1,000 gallons hike by Ridgeway’s primary supplier, the Town of Winnsboro. However, according to a March 31 letter to Ridgeway from Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy and Town Manager Don Wood, Winnsboro’s rates, effective July 1, are going up only .098 cents – less than a dime – per 1,000 gallons.

“I don’t mind admitting there was a mistake made,” Councilman Russ Brown told The Voice this week, “and I’m for Council coming together to make that right. It was an honest mistake, and I’m not past trying to fix it. It’s only fair to be consistent with what Winnsboro does.”

Mayor Charlene Herring said she has had discussions with individual Council members, some of whom agree with Brown and other who are leaning toward leaving the rates in place with the understanding that those rates would not have to be raised again next year. With opinions veering in different directions, Herring said she thought the matter should be aired out in public.

“Some say leave it and some say change it,” Herring said, “so I thought it should be discussed in a meeting.”

Should Council elect to revise the rates, Herring said, an amendment to the budget would be necessary, which would take two readings before taking effect. A change in the rates would likely alter the Town’s $364,636 water and sewer fund budget, which also passed final reading on June 11 along with a $222,840 general fund budget.

The rates as passed last month were scheduled to take effect July 1. Should those rates stand, 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.