TRIADELPHIA - If you live in Ohio County, don't be surprised to see an increase on your water and sewer bills during the next few months.
Several county water systems are seeking rate increases from the West Virginia Public Service Commission. In Bethlehem and Triadelphia, the rate increases would cover the increased cost of sewage service from the city of Wheeling, while the Ohio County Public Service District's proposed water rate increase would cover debt and upgrades to the district's service.
Wheeling customers also will see a 53.1 percent increase in their water bills sometime soon as officials there work to build a new water treatment plant.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Triadelphia Mayor Kenny Murphy washes his hands in the town picnic shelter’s kitchen sink.
The state PSC, which is in charge of approving all water and sewage rate increases in West Virginia, has recommended a 14 percent water rate increase for residential and commercial customers of the Ohio County Public Service District. The average residential customer uses about 4,500 gallons of water per month, said Kerry Marshall, PSD manager.
For a household using 4,500 gallons a month, that would lead to about $4 more per month on a water bill, from the current $26.60 per month to $30.59 per month if the rates are approved.
"We need money to keep operating just to make the payments on our bills," Marshall said of the increase. "Our payments include our loans, our maintenance and our typical routine business."
The water rate increase would generate an additional $279,896 annually for the service district. The increased revenue would cover the district's debt requirements in addition to surplus revenue for internal funding of plant additions.
The Ohio County PSD provides water service to 4,108 residential, commercial and resale customers. It operates distribution facilities throughout Ohio County and supplies water purchased from the city of Wheeling. Other than increases to cover the cost of water purchased from the City of Wheeling, the district has not sought a water rate increase in more than 10 years, Marshall said.
In Triadelphia, Mayor Kenny Murphy said the town's council is proposing a 17 percent sewage rate increase for customers - a monthly bump of $3.78 for residential customers and $6.62 for commercial customers.
"We're going to have to pass it on to our residents whether they like it or not," Murphy said, referring to an increase in sewage service from the city of Wheeling.
"Everything is more or less regulated through Charleston. The city of Wheeling recommends rates for Triadelphia, whatever they are going to charge us. It's not just us, it's Bethlehem, Valley Grove, Ohio County Public Service - everyone gets that increase for water and sewage. It's going to happen county-wide."
A reading of the ordinance to increase rates charged to customers will be held at the regular meeting of the Council of the Town of Triadelphia at 8 p.m. Sept. 5.
In Bethlehem, Mayor Garrett Daniel and council are proposing a 10 percent sewage rate increase for customers to cover the city of Wheeling's increase to the village. Council will hold a public hearing at 8 p.m. Sept. 4 for residents to voice their thoughts on the proposed increase.
In Bethlehem, a customer using 6,000 gallons of water per month would pay $3.63 more monthly under the proposed rate increase. Sewage rates are based upon monthly water usage.