24-Percent Hike For McMechen Water

McMECHEN – McMechen City Council this week unanimously passed on second and final reading a 24-percent water increase.

Mayor Michael Gracik said the increase will be across-the-board for all customers, including residential, commercial, industrial and resale.

There are 958 customers in the city who purchase 24 percent of the water produced, while the other 76 percent of water is purchased by Marshall County Public Service District No. 1. Gracik said the minimum water bill for city residents will increase by $1.73 per month, based on 2,000 gallon consumption.

The overall increase is estimated to produce $53,820 annually in revenue. The average monthly bill for the various classes of city customers will be $2.97, while PSD No. 1 will pay an additional $1,642 for its customers.

The requested rates and charges must now be approved by the Public Service Commission in its review of the filing. The proposed increased rates and charges are to become effective Jan. 21, unless otherwise ordered by the PSC.

Gracik said the decision to increase the rates was the result of an independent study over the past three years. He said that the water department has been operating in the red during the past six months, mainly the result of increase in operational costs.

There were no water customers in attendance at the meeting pertaining to the increase.

Also this week, council voted unanimously to place the renewal of the bus levy on May’s primary ballot.

The current bus levy is in effect until June 30, 2015. However, if the city waits until 2015, the election would cost the city a larger amount than having it in conjunction with next year’s primary. The levy will be for a three-year period, beginning July 1, 2015.