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Northampton approves rate hike

JACKSON – Northampton County passed on water and sewer rate increases for a small number of residents here Wednesday.

During the regular meeting of the Northampton County Board of Commissioners, the board voted 4-1 in favor of passing on rate increases from the town of Jackson and the town of Conway for county water and sewer customers.

“Northampton County buys water and has sewer treated from several surrounding towns and sanitary districts,” Public Works Director Billy Martin told the board. “The county has received late notices of rate increases from two of these entities. We did not know of these increases until our budget was submitted for approval.

“At the present time, the only way to offset these rate increases is to pass them on to the customers,” he added.

According to information provided by Martin, the only two sewer customers which would be affected are Willis Hare Elementary School and Northampton County High School – East. Both receive sewer treatment from the town of Conway through the county.

The new rates for sewer treatment will be $20.50 for the first 2,000 gallons as opposed to a previous rate of $19. The rate per 1,000 gallons after that will be $12 instead of $8.

The town of Jackson levied an increase on water and sewer rates. The water rates have changed from $20 for the first 2,000 gallons and $5 per 1,000 following to $24 for the first 2,000 and $5 after.

Northampton County charged those who receive that water $21 for the first 2,000 gallons and $5.50 per 1,000 after that. The new rates will reflect $25 for the first 2,000 and the same $5.50 afterwards.

Those county residents who receive sewer treatment through Jackson will now pay $20.50 for the first 2,000 gallons and $6.25 for each successive 1,000 gallons. That is up from $19 for the first 2,000 and $5.50 for the following.

Northampton County will pay the same rates to the town of Jackson.

The residential and commercial customers who receive county water through the town of Jackson’s supply cover only a small number of residents, according to Martin.

Those on county water there are residents on N.C. 305 from the U.S. 158 intersection through the third street out of town and those from the Jackson city limits on N.C. 305 back to the Northampton Cultural and Wellness Center.

Commissioner Robert V. Carter asked why the towns waited until after the county budget was passed and Martin said he didn’t know. He also said the rate increase from Conway was “considerable.”

Commissioner Chester Deloatch asked if the county could supply water without the help of the towns and was told it was not possible.

“It’s not feasible to build a $100,000 water tank for 45 households,” Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins said.

Following the discussion, Commission Vice Chair James E. Hester made a motion to pass the rates increases to the consumers with Carter offering a second. The motion passed on a 4-1 vote with Deloatch voting in the negative.