Town considers sewer rate hike

Following on the heels of the Louisa County Water Authority, the town of Louisa plans a public hearing on raising the sewer rate.

Members of town council agreed on Dec. 15 to hold a hearing on a $6.19-per-month rate hike in January. The town is a customer of the water authority, whose board voted in October to raise water and sewer rates effective on Jan. 1, 2021.

If the town raises rates, it would be for the second time in the past three years. The last increase, in 2019, was also in response to a rate hike by the water authority. Previously, the authority had not raised rates since 2014.

The water authority board put off the latest rate hike after a public hearing in August when a number of customers argued that the coronavirus pandemic made it a bad time to raise prices. But the issues driving the rate increase remain the same.

Rates need to go up, the authority says, so it can end the practice of dipping into connection fees to pay for operational costs. The former are supposed to be reserved for repairs or building new infrastructure such as water or wastewater plant upgrades. The authority also wants to stop asking the Louisa County Board of Supervisors for subsidies.

The town’s current monthly base rates for up to 4,000 gallons of use are $37.32 for water and $34.34 for sewer. 

The water authority may consider another change to rates when it begins talking about a budget for fiscal year 2022, which starts next summer.

The town is soliciting applications from residents and businesses for water bill relief, using a $14,719 grant it received from the state Department of Housing and Community Development. People who are behind on payments as a result of the pandemic are eligible.

Citizens can download an application form on the town website by clicking on “news” and scrolling down to the item on utility relief.

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