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HCSA: No more fee hikes for 2013

SoVaNow.com / July 01, 2013
The Halifax County Service Authority expects to hold water and sewer rates steady through the rest of the year, with potential future increases off the table until spring 2014.

That was the upshot of the HCSA’s approval Thursday of a $4.9 million operating budget for the new fiscal year. The budget will be funded through projected water and sewer revenue as well as smaller outside sources of income.

Looking at the budget, HCSA Executive Director Willie Jones said he felt the Authority will be able to hold current water/sewer rates even for the next six months without increases. Rates will then need to be re-examined by spring to see if any rate increases are warranted to support the operating budget at that time, Jones said.

Jones, who presided over his final meeting before retiring this month, prepared estimated budgets for the Authority for the next five years.

In other business, HCSA directors elected officers to serve for the coming fiscal year. Arnetta Roberts will continue as secretary, incoming Executive Director Mark Estes will serve as treasurer, and HCSA directors Dexter Gilliam and Coleman Speece will continue serving as chairman and vice-chairman, respectively.

Roberts updated board members on offering more customer service payment options, saying that she hopes the HCSA will be able to introduce the use of debit or credit card payments, as well as on-line payments in the coming months.

She pointed out that the system already offers direct draft payment for bills.

Authority members also received updates on several ongoing projects, among them water line repairs made along Moore Street over the past several weeks. Jones said the HCSA has been fortunate to put in galvanized pipe while the Town of South Boston is carrying out street work in the area. In a separate project, the HCSA had been working with the South Boston Fire Department on flushing hydrants throughout town.

In another project, engineering and electrical engineering designs for the Lasco Pump station are being prepared by Anderson Associates, Jones said.

Authority members also gave final approval to borrowing $2.3 million from the Virginia Resource Authority to finance ongoing projects. Bonds for the loan will go on sale in July with an Aug. 14 closing date. Jones said he felt the interest rate would not exceed 2.895 percent.

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