Wa­ter author­ity, Cov­ing­ton to in­crease wa­ter rates

The Covington News - - Front page -

By Gabriel Khouli ex­pe­ri­enc­ing from “pur­chas­ing wa­ter, meet­ing fed­eral and state reg­u­la­tions, and pur­chas­ing sup­plies and equip­ment nec­es­sary to keep de­liv­er­ing clean, safe wa­ter ev­ery day.”

“For­tu­nately, we saw what was hap­pen­ing with the econ­omy early enough to base our bud­get on a more re­al­is­tic view of things,” said Hopkins said in the re­lease. “That means we didn’t have all our eggs in the ‘new devel­op­ment bas­ket,’ and stayed within our bud­get in­stead of pre­dict­ing in­creased rev­enue from new wa­ter and sewer tap sales.”

In a fol­low-up e-mail, Hopkins said the NCWSA was sell­ing an av­er­age of 145 tap sales per month dur­ing Newton County’s peak growth in 2006. That would amount to 1,740 for a year. How­ever, in 2009, the author­ity sold a to­tal of 73 wa­ter taps and 19 sewer taps for the en­tire year.

“In these dif­fi­cult times, we wish we didn’t have to ad­just rates at all,” Hopkins said in the re­lease. “But the re­al­ity is that our sys­tem con­tin­ues to get older and needs in­vest­ment in or­der to keep de­liv­er­ing ser­vice to our com­mu­nity. Many of the wa­ter and sewer lines that serve cus­tomers are four decades old, and must be re­placed to re­duce the on­go­ing cost of re­pairs. Old lines are be­ing re­placed with more durable ma­te­ri­als to ex­tend their use­ful life fur­ther into the fu­ture. The Author­ity is also re­al­iz­ing the ben­e­fit of ear­lier cap­i­tal in­vest­ments such as ra­dio read me­ters in­stalled a few years ago. This sys­tem means less staff is re­quired to read me­ters each month, al­low­ing those em­ploy­ees to fo­cus on in­creas­ing ef­fi­cien­cies in re­pairs and other field op­er­a­tions.

The author­ity has a staff of forty-eight full-time em­ploy­ees and serves 22,122 wa­ter cus­tomers in Newton and Jasper coun­ties and 6,048 sewer cus­tomers in Newton.

In ad­di­tion, on Mon­day the Cov­ing­ton City Coun­cil ap­proved the sec­ond read­ing of an or­di­nance to in­crease their wa­ter and sewer rates. The coun­cil voted 4-1, with Coun­cil­woman Hawnethia Wil­liams op­posed and Coun­cil­woman Janet Good­man ab­sent.

The wa­ter rate will in­crease for ev­ery level of use:

• the base rate charge for the first 3,000 gal­lons or less will in­crease to $15.18 from $13.80

• the rate for users from 3,001 to 50,000 gal­lons, will in­crease to $.4.84 per 1,000 gal­lons from up from $4.40

• the rate for users of more than 50,000 gal­lons will in­crease to $5.04 per 1,000 gal­lons up from $4.58

The charge of sewer will be $6.00 per thou­sand gal­lons. The new sewer rep­re­sents a 25 per­cent in­crease. Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Bill Bouch­illon said the sewer rate has al­ways been 110 per­cent of the wa­ter rate. How­ever, he said the city still has very com­pet­i­tive sewer rates.

How­ever, even with the in­creases the city will still be ab­sorb­ing 3 cents of the county’s in­crease. Bouch­illon said his depart­ment orig­i­nally bud­geted with the idea the county would be in­creas­ing its whole­sale rate by 15 cents, not 18 cents. That 3 cents per 1,000 gal­lons would add up to about $35,000 to $40,000 per year, he said.

The city and county also raised wa­ter rates last year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.