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Posted April 24, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Board raises utility rates in part of county

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK -- Utility bills may be on the rise this summer for some Shenandoah County residents.

The Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday approved ordinances setting the water and sewer rates for the county's two sanitary districts. The Board also approved resolutions to adopt the fiscal 2014 budgets and the tax rates for both sanitary districts.

Supervisors voted 5-1 to approve the ordinance setting the rates for the Stoney Creek Sanitary District. Supervisor Sharon Baroncelli cast the lone dissenting vote. Supervisors voted 6-0 to approve the fees for the Toms Brook-Maurertown Sanitary District and on the budgets for the districts.

The charge for using up to the minimum amount of 3,000 gallons of water per month increases by $1 from $38 to $39 under the adopted rates. The charge for using 3,001 to 6,000 increases from $4 to $5 per 1,000 gallons. The charge would increase from $6 to $6.50 per 1,000 gallons over 6,000 gallons.

Sewer rates under the proposal increase from $50 to $51 for the minimum use; from $4 to $5 for each 1,000 gallons used between 3,001 and 6,000 gallons; and from $6 to $6.50 for each 1,000 gallons used in excess of 6,000 gallons. The flat rate for using 9,000 gallons increases from $80 to $85.

For example, the bill for using 6,000 gallons of water in a month increases from $50 to $54. Sewer use of 6,000 gallons increases from $62 to $66.

The new rates take effect July 1.

Information provided by the county indicated the district would receive $36,000 in additional revenue from a rate increase. Had the county not approved the increase the district would need to take that amount from a reserve account.

The board held a public hearing on the proposed changes on April 16. While the fiscal 2014 budget for the county drew more speakers, several residents in the sanitary districts spoke about the fees as proposed. Representatives of the Sky Bryce homeowners association voiced concern about the rate increases and told the board they feared higher charges would hurt efforts to market properties in the neighborhood.

Under the changes the county also would increase the required security deposit for renters from $75 to $100 for water or sewer and from $150 to $200 for water and sewer.

The county proposed no changes to the rates charged to customers in the Toms Brook-Maurertown Sanitary District.

The Stoney Creek Sanitary District budget for fiscal 2014 of $1.65 million represents a decrease in spending of nearly $20,000 from the current financial.

The Toms Brook-Maurertown Sanitary District budget for fiscal 2014 of $789,526 shows an increase in spending of more than $100,00 over the current financial period. The budget calls for increased spending on capital improvement projects.

Also at the meeting supervisors:

  • Adopted an amended ordinance for adoption fees at the county animal shelter. The ordinance increases the adoption fees for cats and dogs by $5 and is expected to generate revenue needed to offset expenses at the shelter.

  • Approved a special-use permit requested by Jack Zerkel, Jeffrey Lutz, and Donald and Dottie Dawson to build and operate a public garage on a 3.3-acre lot at the corner of Mt. Jackson and South Middle roads. No one spoke at a public hearing held on the request. The permit requires the applicant to install landscaping on the site but restricts trees that would block site distance from Mt. Jackson Road to the south. The permit also requires the applicant to make all lighting installed on site downcast and shielded.

  • Approved an amendment to the county zoning ordinance pertaining to child day care centers.

  • Approved a special-use permit requested by Matthew and Vickie Wright to operate a public garage in an existing, private garage at 1378 Wisman Road, Woodstock. The permit restricts the applicants to locating no more than seven vehicles, including farm machinery, on the property for service.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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