During the monthly meeting Tuesday night at the Town/County Center, the Berryville Town Council heard public comments on the proposed rate hike before voting on the measure. Only one resident signed up to speak before the council about the proposed rate. There were no comments from the council and the public hearing was closed after two and a half minutes.
Before the vote Councilwoman Mary Daniel took a moment to frame the situation stating,
“I appreciate the comments here this evening, citizens who are just realizing that this is coming up it doesn’t mean that it’s a recent thing that has been brought to the attention of the council, it’s a part of a long term plan going way back. Everybody up here has to pay the higher rates too because we are all citizens of Berryville using the water and the sewer system. It’s not a decision I take lightly, I just want to, even if one might not agree with the decision, I just want you to be assured that I, at least and I think the the other council members, have thought about it hard and we are not taking this decision lightly.”
Recorder Jay Arnold made the motion, Councilman Allen Kitselman seconded, and the rate hike passed unanimously.
The new rate of $12.50 per thousand gallons becomes effective on August 25th. Customers will see the new rate applied to their September bill.
The scheduled rate increase is part of a long term “business plan” that the town was forced to commit to in order to qualify for loans to pay for the new sewage treatment plant. The increase approved Tuesday is the first of four consecutive years of rate hikes that will be needed to retire the debt incurred by the new facility. Future rate hikes include:
July 2011 $1.50 to $14.00 an increase of 12%
July 2012 $1.50 to $15.50 an increase of 10.7%
July 2013 $1.50 to $17.00 an increase of 9.6%