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HCSA enacts changes to rates / December 23, 2013

Directors of the Halifax County Service Authority (HCSA) on Thursday unanimously approved a water/sewer rate structure that will become effective in January 2014. Only two people spoke during a public hearing to gather input on the rate changes.

The first speaker, South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel, told board members that he supports the proposed rate structure, although he knows that people in general do not want to see their bills increase.

Daniel congratulated the Authority, which is in its sixth year of existence, for continuing to work toward equalized rates for all its customers. He noted that had the Authority not been formed to combine water and sewer services offered by the towns of South Boston and Halifax and Halifax County, rates would have had to have been increased even more.

The only other person to address the board, Mrs. Anne Long, owns rental property on Porter Lane. Mrs. Long said her renter there had asked her to explain to him why sewer rates were so much higher than water rates, and she needed help in providing an answer to him.

Authority Director Mark Estes responded that the rates are higher because the Authority had to borrow money from Rural Development (RD) to expand and improve the Maple Avenue Wastewater Treatment plant. In order to get the RD funding, HCSA had to show that its rates could support the repayment of that loan..

Under the new rate structure customers of the towns of South Boston and Halifax who use 24,000 gallons of water or less will see their rates climb to $4.50 per thousand gallons up from the current $4.30. Out of town South Boston customers will see their rates drop slightly for the first 24,000 gallons of water from $5.10 to $5.05 per thousand.

Riverdale residential customers will pay $4.75 per thousand gallons for the first 24,000 gallons while non residential Riverdale customers of 24,000 gallons will see a dip from $5.10 to $5.00 per thousand.

No changes for Clover or VIR water or sewer customers were made.

Sewer rates for South Boston and Halifax customers of 24,000 gallons will remain the same at $5.25 per thousand while South Boston customers who use over 24,0000 gallons (up to 500,000) will see their rate rise from $4.85 to $4.90 per thousand. Larger users in Halifax will continue to pay $5.00 per thousand. No changes were approved for Riverdale residential users who pay $5.25 per thousand for up to 24,000 gallons and $4.90 per thousand for larger users.

Riverdale non residential users will continue to pay $5.25 for the first 24,000 gallons while the larger users will see their rate rise from $4.85 to 4.90 per thousand gallons.

Earlier in their Thursday meeting, HCSA members were advised that due to more change orders the final completion date for work on the Maple Avenue Wastewater Treatment plant has been extended from the original completion date of June 26, 2013 to May 2, 2014.

Estes said moving the completion date would cost at least an additional $81,300 for inspection and construction oversight services. Directors approved the use of up to $100,000 to cover the added costs of the project.

The board also approved the sum of $65,000 to be spent on replacing parts of the Holly Court Subdivision sewer line. In that subdivision, built by Harrell R. Ford, three homes have been affected by the collapse of a four inch drainage pipe which extends some 500 feet with an average depth of 20 feet.

Estes advised that replacing the line is critical since the Authority is having to pump and haul the waste three to four times each week. He said the Authority does not have the necessary equipment to do the replacement but will have to contract the work out.

In other business board members encouraged Estes and his staff to continue to work toward a system whereby customers can pay their water/sewer bills by credit card. Some 70 customers have requested that the Authority accept credit card payments, Estes said.

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