New sewer rate structure should save residents of IOW money

Published 9:13 am Saturday, March 5, 2011


ISLE OF WIGHT—Eddie Wrightson, director of General Services, presented an alternative structure for residential sewer rates based on summer use for watering lawns and gardens during Thursday’s Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

Under the proposal, a resident can expect a 59 percent savings in his bill over last year.

Wrightson said that last summer when the rate structure was implemented, “we had a lot of unhappy citizens using water for irrigation, not sewer, and paying the latter fee for the former.”

After a couple of meetings with the Eagle Harbor Homeowners’ Association, Wrightson said he took another look at the use and rates.

“I underestimated the volume of irrigation water significantly,” he said. “With summer approaching, an alternative plan was created. It certainly saves residents money. We’ve made it more equitable. This is primarily for homeowners who irrigate during the summer.”

In fiscal year 2010, county residents paid a bi-monthly flat fee of $34.

For 2011, the fee rate will be consumption based: a bi-monthly flat fee of $34 for up to 6,000 gallons, plus $3 per 1,000 gallons up to 12,000 gallons.

Wrightson showed the board an example of a utility bill under the 2011 payment structure in which the total utility charges are $722.

Considerations for the proposed structure include:

■ Summer irrigation usage doesn’t create additional sanitary sewer flow

■ Balances conservation with water and sewer revenue needs

■ The current rate structure promotes water conservation

■ Equitable rate structure

The alternative payment structure would be a bi-monthly flat rate of $34 up to 6,000 gallons, plus $4 per 1,000 gallons for 6,001-15,000. There would be no added charges for use over 15,000 gallons.

An example of a utility bill under this plan based on 50,000 gallons for summer irrigation use would be $427.

Using the latter proposal, savings for sewer rates and water rates would be $284.

Afterward, Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of putting this issue for a public hearing in April.

“They (the board) seemed to like the approach,” Wrightson said.