NEW HAVEN — A public hearing for the purpose of raising water rates in the Town of New Haven will be held on Monday.
The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at the town hall, and will include the second reading of the ordinance to raise the rates, as well as the vote.
The first reading was held during a special meeting on April 12. The ordinance includes three phases with increases, all in 2018.
The first phase will go into effect Jan. 1, with a 36 percent increase for a minimum bill, which is 2,000 gallons. The present water rate is $7.33 per 1,000 gallons for the first 2,000 gallons used, a rate which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. Phase I will increase the rate to $10 per 1,000 gallons for the first 2,000 gallons used.
Phase II will become effective June 30. The second phase will increase the water rate to $12.50 per 1,000 gallons for the first 2,000 gallons of usage.
Phase III of the increase will go into effect Dec. 31; on substantial completion of the water system improvement project; or, initiation of the debt service obligation associated with the water upgrade project. This final phase will double the existing rates, going from the $7.33 per 1,000 gallons for the first 2,000 gallons used now, to $14.70.
The increases are in anticipation of the $7.4 million water upgrade project. Council members have been mulling the scope of the project since taking office last July, going back and forth on whether to do the entire project or only a portion of it.
The final decision was to complete the full project. It came after council was told of the possibility of $1 million in debt forgiveness, plus a chance at an additional $2 million from the Army Corps of Engineers. Both of these came with the stipulation that the entire project must be completed.
Recorder Roberta Hysell told residents at a regular meeting on March 20 that water rates would be an estimated $20 more per month for the average household, which uses 3,400 gallons. At the April 12 special meeting, Mayor Jerry Spradling noted that the water rate increases can be reversed if, for some reason, the project is not done.
The rate increase ordinance must be approved by the Public Service Commission prior to it starting. The full ordinance is available for public inspection at the town hall during regular business hours.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.