2014 Sewer Rate Increase
Dec 18, 2013 | 837 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sewage rates will increase next year for Chatsworth Waterworks customers, according to General Manager Steve Smith.

“At the June 25 meeting of the Chatsworth Water Works Commission (CWWC), it was voted on and approved that effective January 1, 2014, all current sewer rates would increase by $0.25 per thousand gallons and the minimum usage included in the water and sewer bills would decrease by 500 gallons per month,” Smith said. “These adjustments are necessitated by the continued loss of revenue in the sewer sector, to assist in funding the additional treatment and chemicals required to meet the discharge limits set by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) at our Wastewater Treatment Plant, replacing and repairing aging infrastructure, offsetting the increasing cost of operations due to the increased cost of fuel, power, chemicals and other required items, and to maintain adequate debt service coverage as required by our creditors.

“As of November 30, 2013, CWWC was underfunded by approximately $450,000 in the wastewater collection and treatment sectors for this physical year. The loss in revenue is due to the increased cost of providing service, as well as sewer rates being set artificially low with most of the sewer rates being less than the current water rates. We have also incurred an increase of $50,000 to $75,000 per year in treatment and chemical cost because of more stringent phosphorus and copper limits imposed at our Wastewater Treatment Plant by the EPD. Additionally, the cost of replacing the aging and undersized existing water and sewer infrastructure, along with the rising cost of goods and services continue to affect our operations with an average annual increase of approximately 5% for fuel, power, and chemical costs.

“The current minimum usage included in the residential customer bill is 2,000 gallons per month for water and sewer and this will be reduced to 1,500 gallons per month for each. CWWC currently serves approximately 10,000 customers in Murray County, approximately 600 of these customers will not be affected by the lower minimum or the sewer rate increase as their average use is less than 1,500 gallons per month included with the minimum base fee. The national average for household water usage is 5,000 gallons per month, based on these numbers the average residence in the city with both water and sewer service will see an increase of $3.88 per month, the average residence outside of the city with both water and sewer service will see an increase of $4.73 per month, and the average residence outside of the city with water service only will see an increase of $2.05 per month. This is just an average. Actual amounts will vary and may be more or less depending on the monthly consumption.

“While these adjustments will not solve all of the long term revenue shortfalls, the CWWC has decided to evaluate the rates annually and implement incremental increases over several years instead of larger increases at one time. The rate evaluations and adjustments are needed to maintain a sound financial balance and are required by the financial institutions doing business with CWWC in order to maintain proper debt service coverage as required by each institution.