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Utility bills to rise for Mt. Jackson, Edinburg

By Alex Bridges

Edinburg and Mount Jackson property owners can expect no change in their town tax bills.

Town Councils for both Edinburg and Mount Jackson approved their fiscal 2014 budgets at meetings Tuesday night. Councils also approved ordinances that set the tax rates for real estate and personal property.

Property tax rates in the towns will not increase, but Shenandoah County has raised its levies on real estate from 51 cents to 54 cents per $100 of assessed value and from $3.15 to $3.50 per $100 of assessed value on personal property.

But leaders in Edinburg and Mount Jackson approved increases in utility rates that take effect July 1.

The ordinance approved by Mount Jackson leaders sets the following rates for water and sewer: The minimum monthly amount for water and sewer is 2,000 gallons. The rate for water is $6.15 per 1,000 gallons and sewer is $11.50 per 1,000 gallons. Out of town rates are $9.23 and $17.25 per 1,000 gallon for water and sewer, respectively. Current in-town rates are $5.42 and $10.31 for water and sewer, respectively. Rates for out-of-town users are $8.13 and $15.47 for water and sewer, respectively.

Mount Jackson will operate on a budget of $1.71 million for the next fiscal year. The town's additional enterprise fund of $2.55 million oversees the town's water, sewer and sanitation. The capital projects fund calls for spending $1.5 million.

In Edinburg, the minimum monthly bill for water and sewer service will not increase, under the ordinance as approved. The new rates call for an increase of $2 to the rate for water and sewer for each 1,000 gallons used above the 3,000-gallon minimum. This will result in a rate of $6 per 1,000 gallons of water and/or sewer used over the minimum. The rate for users outside town limits will increase to $9.03 per 1,000 gallons over the minimum.

Trash pickup in Edinburg will increase by $1 per month under the new rates.

Edinburg's fiscal 2014 budget includes a general fund of $1.01 million and its "enterprise fund" of $996.11 that covers utilities provided by the town. Edinburg's budget includes a 1 percent salary increase for town employees - the first pay raise in three years.

Edinburg Mayor Daniel Harshman stated in his May newsletter that the town needs to increase utility rates to cover higher costs to provide services to customers. Likewise, the town faces increased costs to replace outdated software and equipment for the utilities.

Also at the Edinburg meeting, Town Council agreed to move forward with the mayor's recommendation and pay $14,907 to Instrulogic to install a new system at the water treatment plant, Town Clerk Mary Embrey said. Council also agreed to allow Margaret Gochenour the use of the town's tennis courts for Pickleball, a sport similar to tennis and ping pong.

At the Mount Jackson meeting, Town Council heard a brief report on the First Avenue Drainage Project. Town Manager Charlie Moore advised council the project can't move forward until the rain stops, no standing water remains and the ground dries up.

Mount Jackson leaders also saw a draft of a redesigned website for the town, Moore said.

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


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