Water rate increases possible for Middletown
Middletown residents and businesses could soon be seeing their water rates increase.
Mayor Charles Harbaugh said the city of Winchester intends to raise Middletown’s water rates 32 percent within two years and 54 percent within five years.
“We had heard rumors for a little while and we got word last last week of what the rates will be,” Harbaugh said.
Currently about 500 town and businesses pay $6.10 per 1,000 gallons of water.
Harbaugh stressed that is the amount Winchester charges the town and the town sells it to the residents at the same cost.
“We want to be good customers, good teammates,” Harbaugh said but he would like the chance to negotiate the dramatic jump, which has caused sticker shock among residents and businesses, to a more reasonable increase.
Winchester said the increase was the market rate and the cost of distribution.
“I am realistic, everyone in Middletown is realistic. We understand there is a cost for distribution,” Harbaugh said.
Winchester operates the Percy D. Miller water treatment plant on Pence Land Road, which would make Middletown the closest community with the shortest distribution route, Harbaugh said.
Town officials are writing a letter to Winchester asking the reason for the increase, and what is it going toward.
Middletown is one of the largest, if not the largest customer for Winchester, which also supplies some other customers in Frederick County, Harbaugh said.
Town officials are asking if the increase is for everyone who uses Winchester’s water or just Middletown, he said. The town signed a 30-year contract with Winchester in 2012. If rates are increased, the contract stipulates it has to be increased for everyone.
The water rates increases that would be planned are:
July 1, 2018 the water rate would increase to $6.98 per 1,000 gallons.
July 1, 2019 the water rate would increase to $7.51 per 1,000 gallons.
July 1, 2020 the water rate would increase to $8.08 per 1,000 gallons.
July 1, 2021 the water rate would increase to $8.69 per 1,000 gallons.
July 1, 2022 the water rate would increase to $9.39 per 1,000 gallons.