Northampton approves water rate hike

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 15, 2005

JACKSON – Following the review of recommendations from efficiency studies performed on the county’s Public Works Department and the Northampton County Detention Center, Northampton County Commissioners decided to increase water rates and hire two additional jail employees.

The decision came during a work session Thursday when Commissioners voted to implement changes that would bring increased revenue into the county’s water enterprise fund and bring the county jail into compliance with state standards.

The new changes, which include the elimination of the Water and Sewer Supervisor position and the reorganization of Water and Sewer field staff reporting directly to Public Works Director Andy Crew, would affect a minimal annual savings of approximately $56,000, a decision that was made in a four to one vote with Commissioner James Boone dissenting.

An increase of $263,880 in annual revenue will also be generated from a water rate boost of three dollars per month from $15 to $18 per 2,000 gallons with an increase of .50 cents per 1,000 gallons for usage greater than 2,000 gallons per month.

Also, according to Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins, since the staff believes wastewater customers should share the burden of increase, an equivalent increase of three dollars per month for the minimum 2,000 gallons was approved.

The decision will raise wastewater costs from $15 to $18 per month with an increase of .50 cents per 1,000 gallons (from $5.00 to $5.50 per 1,000) for usage greater than 2,000 gallons per month for both commercial and residential uses, translating into $43,428 in additional wastewater revenue annually.

Commissioners also approved the staff recommendation to increase farm water service from the current $150 per year to $250 minimum per year. The increase is expected to generate an additional $4,900 annually. Overall, revenue from the rate increases is expected to net about $370,000.

With regard to the two additional staff members for the jail, one new employee is scheduled for hire in April with another to come on board in July.

All water rate increases are scheduled to take effect April 1.