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Rate hikes approved

WINTON – The Ahoskie water district is increasing the rate it charges the Hertford County Southern Rural Water District for the Colonial Acres residents.

&uot;The water rate for the Colonial Acres residents will increase from $1.62 per 1,000 gallons (water used per month) to the out-of-town rate of $6 fixed and $5 for every 1,000 gallons (water used per month),&uot; County Manager Loria Williams told the Hertford County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

&uot;The rate adjustment will become effective October 24, 2005,&uot; Williams said.

The 15% surcharge will remain in effect.

The town of Ahoskie and the Hertford County Southern Rural Water District I entered into a contract in 1997 in which Ahoskie agreed to provide water to Colonial Acres through the Southern Water District. This is the first rate increase since the contract began and the town has the right to increase the rate as long as proper notification is given.

The water fee increase wasn’t the only price hike brought before the commissioners on Tuesday.

Simon Orta from the Hertford County Department of Social Services presented the board with a list of DSS renewal contracts for fiscal year 2005/2006.

The DSS renewal contracts include several rate increases. The rate changes include an increase from $110 to $125 per hour from Attorney Mitchell McLean. McLean provides Child Protective Services with legal representation.

The Choanoke Public Transportation Authority (CPTA) increased rates from $6.51 to $7.15 per one-way trip and from $10 to $20 per one-way trip to Greenville. CPTA provides medical transportation for clients who qualify for elderly and handicapped transportation and Work First Employment Services clients.

DMG Maximus, a software maintenance company for county finance programs, increased its rate from $1,425 to $1,500 per year.

All of these rate increases were included in this year’s fiscal budget.

In other business, the board adopted a resolution for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources to remove debris along the Potecasi Creek.

Following Hurricane Isabel, a stream cleanup project was created to restore drainage, reduce flooding and improve navigation. The Board approved an application to the NCDENR, requesting the state provide financial assistance to Hertford County in the amount of $221,760 (100% funding) for project construction costs.

Williams informed the board the lease agreements with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Farm Service Agency are up for renewal.

The USDA and FSA lease an office building on 307 Tryon Street in Winton from the county and the current lease expires on September 30, 2005.

&uot;The current space is leased for $8 per square foot with Rural Development utilizing 2,353 usable feet and FSA utilizing 977 square feet,&uot; Williams said.

The board asked Williams to work with county personnel to determine if a rate increase would be necessary and to report back to the board during the next meeting.

Williams also shared with the board news concerning the Gates County Correctional Facility.

The facility will remain open and funding was provided in the 2005/2006-state budget for the continued operation of the Gates facility. Early drafts of the state budget included the potential closing of the facility along with other similar facilities in the state, but local leaders urged the Governor to keep the facilities open.

The board meeting concluded with a legislative update from Raleigh from Board Chairman DuPont Davis. According to Davis, the Medicaid situation remains unresolved after a deal between the state and counties could not be reached.

Davis also shared information about the ongoing voting machine situation. According to Davis and Williams, the state will qualify new machines before local governments are asked to purchase new machines.

&uot;The federal government is supposed to provide money to the county to help purchase new machines,&uot; Davis said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners welcomed two new employees. Patricia Nixon is working with the Department of Social Services as an IMC Worker and Tara Chamblee is employed with the Department of Aging as an Assistant Secretary.