Priceville discusses sewage rate increasePublished 3:29pm Thursday, June 13, 2013
Priceville sewage customers, totaling about 750 people, have never experienced a rate increase but that could soon change.
Sewer board members discussed the need for a rate adjustment with Mayor Melvin Duran and Town Attorney William S. “Woody” Sanderson at a monthly meeting on June 10.
“We have a basic charge of $9 per month per customer but that doesn’t generate enough revenue to meet day-to-day operating expenses,” Duran stated. “Currently, we are using general fund revenue to pay the salaries of two sewer department employees and we were $200,000 short of meeting expenses last fiscal year. ”
Duran said the sewer board is conducting a study of operational costs and plans to report its findings to the council with a recommendation at a future council meeting, possibly as soon as the next regular meeting June 24.
“I have checked with some of the other cities in our area and we are well below what they charge for sewage service,” he pointed out. “I don’t want to gouge anybody but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to charge enough for the department to pay its own way.
During a town council session that followed the sewer board meeting, Duran reported to the council that a sewage rate adjustment proposal would be forthcoming for their consideration.
“We don’t want to continue allowing the sewer department to operate in the red,” Duran said. “We’re still paying off two sewer bond issues and we need the revenue to take care of that in addition to any unforeseen large expenses that might come up.”
Duran estimated that only 50 to 60 percent of the town’s residents are being served with sanitary sewer.
“We’d like to extend service to every residence,” he pointed out. “However, it’s very expensive and it takes a long time to recoup the cost of construction.”