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Water, sewer costs to rise for many in 2014 / November 25, 2013

Many water and sewer customers in South Boston, Halifax and Riverdale will see their rates go up in 2014 under a plan unveiled by the Halifax County Service Authority on Thursday.

HCSA directors agreed to schedule a public hearing on the new rate structure, which is slated to take effect in January. The public hearing will take place Thursday, Dec. 19 at the HCSA building on Houghton Drive.

A vote by the HCSA board to enact the rates is expected to follow the public hearing.

The public hearing will begin as soon as directors complete their regular business meeting which begins at 3:30 p.m.

HCSA directors said the rate plan is intended to balance out water and sewer fees for homes and businesses served by the Authority. In general, in-town users in South Boston and Halifax will pay slightly higher rates, while the cost of service for out-of-town customers will drop slightly.

“We are still gradually working towards the equalization of rates for our customers, which has always been the goal of this Authority,” said HCSA Vice Chairman Coleman Speece, who added that full rate equalization remains at least four years away.

Under the new rate structure:

South Boston and Halifax in-town customers who use up to 24,000 gallons of water will see the largest cost increase, with rates going from $4.30 to $4.50 per 1,000 gallons — a 20 cent jump.

Large-volume customers in South Boston (those who use between 24,000 and 500,000 gallons of water bimonthly) will see their rates jump by 3 percent, from $3.00 to $3.10 per thousand. The largest customers (those who use in excess of 500,000 gallons) will see their rates climb by 3.6 percent, from $2.80 to $2.90 per 1,000 gallons.

South Boston out-of-town water customers who use less than 24,000 gallons bimonthly will enjoy a rate drop. Those customers will pay $5.05 per thousand gallons, rather than the current rate of $5.10.

Water users in the Riverdale residential area who consume 24,000 gallons or less will see their rates climb from $4.70 to $4.75 per thousand gallons, a 1 percent increase.

Larger Riverdale customers (bimonthly consumption of 24,000 to 500,000 gallons) will see the cost of water jump by 2.7 percent, with the rate rising from $3.70 to $3.80 per thousand gallons. The largest Riverdale residential customers (using in excess of 500,000 gallons) will pay 3 percent more, with their water rate going from $3.40 to $3.50 per thousand.

Non-residential Riverdale customers who use less than 24,000 gallons will see their costs drop by 2 percent — from the current rate of $5.10 to $5.00.

Larger non-residential Riverdale customers (using between 24,000 to 500,000 gallons) will see their costs climb by 2.7 percent, with the water rate rising to $3.80 from the current level of $3.70. Even larger users will pay $3.35 per thousand, up from the current rate of $3.25.

No changes are proposed for Clover customers. They currently pay $5.50 per thousand gallons for consumption of less than 24,000 gallons, or $5.00 for more than 24,000 gallons.

The rate for VIR customers will remain the same — $9.75 per thousand gallons.

With sewer rates, the broadest increase being contemplated would affect metered customers in the Town of South Boston who use more than 24,000 gallons. Their sewer rate would rise to $4.90 per thousand, up from the current $4.85.

The largest sewer users in town — those who consume more than 500,000 gallons — will see their rates increase to $4.65 from the current $4.60.

Also proposed for an increase: the sewer rate of Riverdale non residential customers who use between 24,000 and 500,000 gallons. They would pay $4.90 per thousand gallons, up from $4.85.

In other business on Thursday afternoon, the HCSA board heard Director Mark Estes review the efforts of his staff in trying to enhance customer service. Estes said he is working to provide customers with the ability to pay their bills with credit cards, and he offered information about the cost to the Authority to accept credit card payments.

HCSA Board Chairman Dexter Gilliam asked the staff to get further information on the cost of accepting credit card payments and bring a recommendation to the board at the December meeting.

Estes earlier reported that staff members have fielded more than 70 requests from customers who want the ability to pay their bills at the customer service window with credit cards.

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Of course rates are going up. Our government, through overspending and borrowing to try and buy foreign governments (foreign aid) among other things, has completely destroyed the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar. Seriously, how many do you think the private federal reserve banks can create before the ones we hold are not worth a pinch of gnat crap? Governments, be it federal, state, or local cannot stop overspending. So, as those dollars depreciate the governments also lose their purchasing power requiring them to collect more money. They also use others forms of deception and trickery such as labeling traditional essential functions of government as items requiring an additional fee. That would be the reason your solid waste disposal fee of $48 shows up on your property tax bill.

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