Town of Pulaski water customers can expect slight increase in bills after July 1

Town of Pulaski water customers can expect slight increase in bills after July 1

Town of Pulaski water and sewer customers can expect a slight increase in their monthly bills when a new fiscal year begins July 1.

Pulaski Town Council on Tuesday heard a presentation by Cheryl Stevens of Draper Aden Associates, who is one of the engineering firm’s experts on evaluation of water and sewer rates.

According to Town Manager Darlene Burcham, Stevens was engaged by the town several months ago to study the town’s water and sewer rates.

During her presentation, Stevens and council discussed the town’s water and sewer systems, capital improvement needs and costs, infrastructure, labor, I&I (inflow and infiltration), etc.

Stevens noted that while the town’s water rates currently “compare favorably” with surrounding localities, its sewer rates are the third highest in the area and higher than the average in the state.

She noted for instance that rates in Christiansburg and Carroll County are higher, while rates in Salem and Pulaski County PSA are comparable.

The town’s water and sewer funds are called enterprise funds, meaning they must be self-sufficient with rates set to cover expenses and reserves.

Councilmen Jamie Radcliffe and Michael Reis addressed the key issue of rate increases with Stevens.

Stevens agreed with Radcliffe that it is important for the town to explain to its water customers that their monthly bill includes not only a charge for water, but also sewer and garbage collection.

An average residential water bill in Pulaski – including water, sewer and garbage – is about $100.

Stevens agreed with Reis that it is fair to state her analysis calls for about a $5.00 increase per month (about $12.60 per year) in water bills for the average Pulaski residence which uses between 3,000 and 6,000 gallons per month.

A final decision on the rate increase has not yet been made.

Pulaski Town Council will discuss the water, sewer and garbage rates further as they continue work on their 2021-22 fiscal year budget, which must be completed prior to the July 1 beginning of the new fiscal year.

By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot