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Items from across the Triad and beyond | by Whitney Kenerly & Brittany Mollis

WATER RATES ON THE RISE IN WINSTON, GREENSBORO

The 2014-2015 budget for Greensboro’s Water & Sewer Fund was presented to City Council members on May 7.

Water Resources Department Director Steven Drew reviewed the factors that could increase monthly water bills by $1.48 a month for inside customers and $6.70 for outside customers.

The state’s Jordan Lake Regulatory requirements account for part of the rate increase. Other rate drivers include regulatory costs and necessary improvements needed for utilities infrastructure.

No one likes to see a bill increase, and Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson anticipated the need to explain the rate changes to Greensboro residents. “People need to know that we didn’t just make this up, ” Johnson said. “Are we going to put something in the water bill to help our residents understand that this was a state mandate?” Even with the forecasted increases, Greensboro would still have the third lowest water costs in the state.

Drew said that Greensboro is fortunate to be able to gradually increase rates over time as it begins improving infrastructure and that other cities that have delayed necessary updates are experiencing dramatic spikes in utilities costs.

According to the Winston-Salem Utility Commission, an increase in water and sewer rates, utility service base charges and disposal rates at yard waste facilities has been approved.

The increase will be effective as of October 1.

Water rates will be increased by 4.5 percent and sewer rates will be increased by 6.7 percent. The monthly base charges for water and sewer service will increase by $1.24.

The average household in Winston-Salem uses 4,500 gallons of water per month, which equals a bill of roughly $36.48. The increase in water and sewer rates will equal a monthly bill of about $39.44 – a $2.96 increase per household.

Even with the increase, residents in Winston-Salem will still be paying less for their water and sewer bill than residents of other larger cities.

The average rate for a household in Greensboro that uses 4,500 gallons of water per month is currently $56.90. The average in Durham is $51.44, and the average in Charlotte is $49.66. !

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