Utility Commission Approves Rate Increase
Utility Commission - May 14, 2007
Contact: David Saunders, 727-8418
To finance operation of a new wastewater biosolids drying facility and capital projects to meet the future water and sewer needs of Forsyth County, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission approved a 7 percent increase in water rates and a 9 percent increase in sewer rates today when it adopted its proposed fiscal year 2007-2008 budget. The average residential customer with an in-city rate would pay $1.96 more a month for water and sewer service.
Utilities officials noted that even with the increase, Winston-Salem will still have some of the lowest water and sewer rates in the Southeast.
With the rate increases, the bimonthly water and sewer bill for the average household in Winston-Salem would be $53.20, compared with $84.46 in Greensboro, $64.66 in Raleigh, $82.90 in Charlotte, and $87.38 in Durham.
The total operating budget would be $62.1 million, and would include 11 new positions for operating the new wastewater biosolids dryer at the Ellege Wastewater Treatment Plant. The dryer will convert wastewater sludge into pellets that can be used as fertilizer, saving the commission on annual sludge disposal costs.
In addition, the commission is scheduled to open a new $2 million yard-waste composting facility in August. The new facility will serve the north end of city.
The budget for capital improvements would be $57.1 million, and includes money to begin work on reconstructing the R.A. Thomas Water Treatment Plant and portions of the Archie Ellege Wastewater Treatment Plant, both of which are more than 50 years old and reaching the end of their design life. Through fiscal year 2012-13, total capital spending would total $288.9 million, of which $67.8 million is related to annexation.
The 2007-2008 budget would amend the discount for irrigation meters. Under the new budget, customers would have to use 20,000 cubic feet a month to receive a discount. Currently, irrigation customers receive a discount after using 10,000 cubic feet a month.
The water and sewer system operated by the Utility Commission continues to be one of the strongest systems in North Carolina, based on bond ratings, its operating record, its rate structure, and its supply of raw water.
Rate chart comparison (Adobe PDF)