By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Town Council has received and approved a proposal from Burton & Associates to conduct an updated $29,400 study that would analyze in- and out-of-town utility rates.
The state requires that the town update the study in order to justify the rates, and to be aware of current utility consumption. The last study was done two years ago for the fiscal year 2010-2011 budget.
Town Manager Steve Burke explained that the last study was only done on users and connections in town, and looked only at associated revenue instead of expenses.
"This study will allow us to revisit the current data and find any new connections and users, or learn of connections that are no longer in use," Burke said in defense of the study.
Councilman Thomas Conkey said the study is necessary "to ensure the rates we're charging our citizens, both in town and in the corridor, are appropriate."
Councilman Thomas Sayre was the only one to vote against the study. He said, "I'm not completely sold on spending the $29,400 on this. We don't have to spend the money."
Councilman N. Shae Parker reiterated that it was required by law to justify rates.
"Sure, you could not spend the money and then take care of the legal fees when you can't explain why you're charging the rates that you are," Parker said. "It's a necessity."
In a letter to Burke, Burton & Associates said work can begin on the study "upon receipt of a notice to proceed," and the study is estimated to be completed within 90 days after receiving all required data.