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Upshur County water rates set to rise

October 30, 2012
By John Wickline - Bureau Chief , The Inter-Mountain

Upshur County residents should brace themselves for a 20 percent increase to

their water bills after the first of the year, as the Buckhannon Water

Department needs the additional revenue to take on some long-delayed

maintenance projects and system upgrades.

City attorney David McCauley said legislation could be presented at an

upcoming city council meeting. The increase would also effect those county

Public Service Districts which purchase their water from the city department.

"Buckhannon has done a good job of holding our rates down as long as they

can," McCauley said. "But one of the compelling reasons for the increase is

there are plans for a new water tank, upgrades and deferred maintenance items.

Unless you have the bucks, you can't do them."

This would be the first increase to water rates since 2007, and only the

second in the past 15 years. McCauley said the state Public Service Commission

recommends that rates be increased every three to five years.

"Employees' salaries and benefits come out of those revenues," he said. "The

cost of doing business never gets lower. But folks don't like increases, so we

have tried not to do that."

The new water tank would be an addition to the local system, and McCauley said

the rule of thumb is to set aside about $1 for each gallon the tank is

expected to hold. The new tank is being designed as a 1 million gallon tank.

Residents pay about $15.48 per 4,000 gallons of water on their monthly bills.

That rate would jump to $18.76.

A public hearing will be held on Nov. 15 at the start of the regular city

council meeting, and that will be followed by the second reading of the


Of the 398 regulated water utility companies in West Virginia, Buckhannon's

rates rank as the 40th lowest.



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