Town proposes 20% water rate increase for Berkeley Springs Water Works

by Trish Rudder

The Bath Town Council has approved unanimously a first reading to a revised water ordinance for the town water department, Berkeley Springs Water Works. A vote on the new water rates took place at the May 21 meeting.

The current water ordinance is the Town’s Water Tariff PSC W. Va. No. 14 that went into effect in 2013. Now, town officials are proposing water rates that are 20% higher.

A second reading is scheduled for June 4, and if passed, the ordinance will go into effect after it is approved by the state Public Service Commission (PSC).

The new rates for 2,000 gallons used per month will be $19.36 per 1,000 gallons, up from $16.14 per 1,000 gallons.

The new rate for 3,000 gallons used per month will be $13.99 per 1,000 gallons, up from $11.66 per 1,000 gallons.

The minimum charge for a 5/8 inch meter will be $38.72 per month for 2,000 equivalent gallons, up from $32.28 per month.

According to the proposed ordinance, “the current rates and charges for water utility service provided by the Town of Bath are insufficient to fund its current operating costs including the maintenance of the water system.”

“In order to provide revenues sufficient to pay the expenses of operations and to provide working capital reserves and capacity capital cost reserves, the Town Council of the Town of Bath deems it necessary to increase the rates and charges for furnishing water utility services and to establish capacity capital cost fees,” the ordinance states.

Bath Councilman Greg Schene, who heads up the Ordinance Committee,  said in the meeting that new water hookups in existing residential buildings or new buildings will pay the existing $850 tap fee plus a $1,500 capacity fee.

As it is now, he said, the flat $850 tap fee does not cover services and labor by the water department.

Schene said the proposed ordinance can be downloaded from the Town website under “Government – Municipal Code – Draft Ordinances” or a copy of the ordinance can be obtained at the Town of Bath office at 271 Wilkes Street.

A legal notice about the rate proposal is to be published in The Morgan Messenger, town clerk Sharron Corrick said last week.