Cumberland Times-News

Local News

May 23, 2013

County: Increase in water rates planned

CUMBERLAND — CUMBERLAND — Many customers in Allegany County will likely see a small increase in their water and sewer rates during the upcoming fiscal year.

Customers in a few districts could see more substantial rate hikes, said Mark Yoder, the county’s utilities division chief. A few rates went down, mainly sewer front footage charges, Yoder pointed out.

Cresaptown and Jennings Run customers will see the largest fee increases under the proposal. Jennings Run customers could see an $8 increase per quarter for sewer surcharges, while Cresaptown customers will pay $9 more per quarter for water service fees, according to a report from county staff, presented by Yoder.

Increased costs for Cresaptown customers will be phased in over three years, with another increase planned in 2015.

Cresaptown customers could also lose an odd perk, not available to other county residents, too.

Cresaptown customers receive 6,000 gallons of water as part of their minimum charge. That perk should be phased out over time, Yoder said. County officials have held public meetings with customers about the increases. Yoder made a presentation to commissioners about the rates at their Thursday business meeting at county offices on Kelly Road.

Most increases will be $2 to $3 per quarter or less — that’s about a dollar a month, Yoder said. Most of the increases are because consent orders with the state required expensive upgrades to water and sewer plants.

Rates have been held artificially low, causing the water and wastewater systems to operate at a deficit. The current policy is to make small increases on a regular basis rather than a whopper of a hit to customers after years of no increases, Yoder said.

All funding for water and sewer comes from users of the system, no money is used from the general fund, Yoder said.

The county will likely be adding more customers, as well.

“Federal drinking water and wastewater standards will continue to force most small community systems out of business and have them seeking absorption into ... the county,” according to the staff report.

The rate hikes will not be effective until approved by county commissioners. The proposed increases have already been passed, in resolution form, by the Allegany County Sanitary Commission.

Rates could increase during the fiscal year should water and sewer suppliers to the county increase rates.

The cities of Cumberland and Keyser, W.Va., are planning rate increases, Yoder said.

Cumberland’s rates for handling county wastewater increased 15 percent during 2011, resulting in about $250,000 in increased costs per year. Cumberland is expected to add another 15 percent in 2014.

Keyser’s rates could rise as much as 30 percent, Yoder said. Those increases will be added to the usage rate costs.

“The county must continue to seek to achieve more favorable water and sewer rates from the municipalities. ... Water purchase costs account for over half of our total water systems budgets,” the staff report reads.

The trouble is that even with rate increases, the county’s budget can’t meet needed capital improvements and other upgrades, let alone decent salaries for skilled employees, the staff report said.

The county utilities department has faced a loss of employees because of the relatively low salaries paid, according to the staff report. “Our current building structure does not allow for significant capital improvements,” Yoder said. “We’re getting stretched further and further ... both in number of customers and geographically across the county.”

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

Facebook
Must Read
News related video
Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Obama, Biden Announce $600M for Job Grants Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Boston Officials: No Bags at Marathon Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing