The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
K.G. utilities board mulls tiered billing
BY CATHY DYSON
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
On Tuesday, customers of the King George Service Authority will be able to give their opinions on proposed increases in water and sewer rates.
But the raising of those rates—5 percent for water and 10 percent for sewer—seems to be a done deal already. King George supervisors, who make up the Service Authority’s board of directors, agreed in 2010 to increase rates through 2015. It’s all part of the goal to have the Service Authority pay its own way, county officials have said in the past.
This year’s increase is the fourth in a row for residents served by the county’s water or sewer system. Bills are sent out every two months, and the average user consumes about 13,750 gallons of water in that time period, according to the Service Authority’s rate chart.
The two-month bill of the average user would go up from $213 to $231 under the proposal.
The new rates would take effect July 1. Tuesday’s public hearing begins at 6:15 p.m.
The Service Authority also is considering going to a tiered structure that charges customers for how much water they use instead of a flat fee. Customers regularly have complained that it’s not fair for a family that conserves water to pay the same flat fee as someone who doesn’t.
Consultants with Municipal & Financial Services Group of Annapolis, Md., told the board members in April that a tiered structure will allow the authority to be self-sufficient and give the perception of fairer rates.
“It will help Widow Smith who’s a small user versus people who are irrigating 3 acres of bluegrass every day,” said Edward Donahue, a consultant with the Annapolis group. “And it’s meeting the fine line between developers, who suspect you’re using their money to fund water and sewer rates, and homeowners, who suspect you’re using their money to fund development.”
Ruby Brabo, the only board member whose home is served by county water and sewer, said she believes a tiered structure would reward conservationists and penalize those who use too much water.
The board members didn’t approve the tiered structure, but have a model in place if they decide to use it.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425