Aiken City considering increasing water bills, city owes county $1M for wastewater plant upgrades

CSRA News

$50 million dollars worth of upgrades are underway at the Horse Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, but those changes could mean less change in your pocket. 

“I would never say too much against upgrading a facility that’s going to produce the water that I have to drink and cook with,” said Aiken City resident George Anderson. 

The Aiken County Public Service Authority operates the treatment plant, that provides clean water for Aiken county and the cities of Aiken and North Augusta. 

In 2016, the county gave notice to both city leaders about the costly upgrades and how much each municipality would owe. For the City of Aiken to continue using the service, it has to pay its share of usage, totaling a little more than $1 million dollars. However, it currently doesn’t have the money in the enterprise fund.

According to a spokesperson for the City of Aiken the enterprise fund is designed to pay for itself, the fee charged recover all expense. 

In order to generate the revenue, city leaders are proposing a 2 percent increase on water bills for the next 5 years, or around 24 cents per year for the average customer. People WJBF NewsChannel 6 talked to have mixed feelings about it. 

“Have you heard that the city is talking about increasing the water rates?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“Yes,” answered Neil Ledd, a resident of the city of Aiken. 

“What do you think about it?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“I don’t like it a lot,” said Ledd. 

“I think they shouldn’t increase anything,” another resident told WJBF NewsChannel 6. 

“If they need it for something, yes.” A homeowner said. 

Still, some council members are not convinced an increase is the best or most cost-effective option. 

“I don’t think we have enough information to move this forward at this point, until we have another work session and look at it,” said Aiken City Councilman Ed Woltz. “I don’t think it’s fair to tax our citizens more money. Until we look at questions where, how can we save money? What can we do to help them out?” 

The ordinance to increase water rates will go before council again on Monday, April 23, 2018 for a second reading. 

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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