Wise County Town Council Approves Budget and Water-Sewer Rate Increases

According to Town Manager Beverly Owens, recently the Wise County Town Council approved their fiscal 2019-2020 budget; and in a separate four to one vote, the Council approved the new water rates and and other existing rates with only Teresa Adkins opposing the 3% water rate increase.
State funding for the rehabilitation of the Roberts Avenue water tank necessitates the rise in water rates by 3% for the next five years, with monthly in town water rate for the first 1,000 gallons to increase from $15.82 to $16.29. After that, the cost for each additional 1,000 gallons has increased from $6.33 to $6.52. For sewer service if the customer doesn't buy water; the increased price will change from $45.10 to $46.45.
Wise County's out of town customers can expect the first 1,000 gallons rate to change from $23.00 to $23.69. The additional cost for each 1,000 gallon increase will go from the current $9.20 to $9.48.
These increased utility rates will not be sufficient to fund water and sewage operations along with capital projects. They will need more than $321,300 to be transferred from the General Fund to the Water Fund and another $35,550 will be transferred from the General Fund to the Sewage Fund.
The new budget requires the transfer of almost $1.3 million from the town's unbudgeted fund balance with the money to go to several needs. Among the targeted goals will be paying off the debt for the Roberts Avenue water tank rehabilitation, providing local matching funds for various infrastructure projects, funding vehicle and equipment puchases, covering a small portion of general operating costs, and putting aside some funds in reserve for any unanticipated costs that might arise.

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