ROSEBORO — Residents have seen an increase in their water and sewer bills since October, but now the town has approved shifting that increase onto the county, ultimately increasing the water and sewer fund for the town.
Autryville residents may see an increase in their water and sewer bills as a result.
During Tuesday night’s board meeting, town clerk Tony Blalock presented a plan to commissioners that would increase the amount the town charges the county for water. This, Blalock said, will impact the town of Autryville.
In October, when commissioners implemented the increase, Blalock said Sampson County purchases water from Roseboro for use in Autryville. At that time, the town had already set their budget for the coming year, so the board voted to withhold an increase to the county until July 2016, the beginning of a new budget year.
According to Blalock, Roseboro currently charges the county $290 for the first 100,000 gallons of water. Each additional 1,000 gallons over the base amount is charged $2.25 per gallon. When rates were increased for Roseboro residents in October, Blalock said the increase was about 4.41 percent, so he felt the same should be shifted to the county.
Blalock proposed increasing the base amount to $300 a month and increasing the overage amount to $2.35 per gallon over 100,000 gallons.
The increase, Blalock said, will increase the town revenue by approximately $1,100 annually, but the water and sewer fund is something the town has been told is in need of any help it can get.
According to Alice Butler, current mayor, the board has been told by auditing services and the Local Government Commission that what the town currently charges isn’t enough to cover the total cost of the services provided to the town’s residents. Therefore, the town implemented the increase to residents in October, and are now choosing to push the increase onto the county.
“According to the LGC, the water and sewer fund is not where it needs to be,” commissioner Ray Clark Fisher said. “We are not gaining anything on it or even getting enough money to operate. We are operating on a very tight margin in the water/sewer department.”
During the August 2015 meeting, commissioners approved an increase of water and sewer rates to residents and out-of-town residents. Water rates for in-town residents increased 75 cents, from a base of $17 per month for up to 3,000 gallons, to $17.75 per month for the base rate, according Blalock. The water rate for out-of-town residents increased from the monthly rate of $19 to $20.15, an increase of $1.15 per month. Sewer rates followed the same increase.
This increase generates approximately $12,400 in revenue for the town.
In comparison to other towns nearby, Roseboro’s rates are substantially lower. Considering the 3,000 gallon as a base limit, a Roseboro customer would pay $36 per month for water and sewer, while customers in Newton Grove are paying $45.60 and customers in Stedman are paying $58.50, for the same amount of usage.
Roseboro’s rates are still substantially lower with the increase, with customers now paying $37.50.
While commissioners spoke against the increase in August, very little discussion was held Tuesday night about increasing the cost to the county.
“We have to do something with the water and sewer fund,” Commissioner Ray Clark Fisher said in August about the increase. “I hate raising the rates, but I don’t know what else we can do.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.