Next week, the Nelson County Service Authority will hold a long-awaited public hearing to discuss the possible water and sewer rate increase proposed earlier this year.

The service authority will hold a public hearing at its monthly meeting on July 18 before voting on its fiscal year 2020 budget, which includes a rate increase for the first time in eight years.

The proposed budget includes at 10% water rate increase and a 15% sewer rate increase for current customers. The increase will affect those in the valley as well as at Wintergreen, totaling around 3,000 connections in Nelson County. The valley includes Lovingston, Shipman, Colleen, Schuyler, and Gladstone.

Currently, the base service fee for water and sewer in the valley is $38.20 and $47 respectively. If the increase is approved, rates would rise to $42.00 for water and $54.10 for sewer. The base service fee for water and sewer on the Wintergreen Mountain System is $41.85 and $47.05, respectively. If the increase is approved rates would rise to $45.99 for water and $54.10 for sewer.

At the March 21 monthly meeting, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Nelson County Service Authority secretary and treasurer, told the authority these rate increases should bring an additional revenue of $422,000 for the next fiscal year. On July 8, George Miller, executive director, said the increase proposal is to help fund both the Wintergreen and Schuyler Wastewater Treatment Plant projects.

“This is future revenue for these future projects,” Miller said.

The service authority is in the process of having the preliminary engineering reports for both sites reviewed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development before deciding the most cost effective way to move forward. Miller said they are looking at replacing the plant at Schuyler.

Last year, a rate increase was included in the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget, but was never implemented because the Wintergreen project was still in the very beginning stages and the authority didn’t feel it was justified to raise customer rates then.

Miller estimated both projects will be completed in 2023 or 2024. The public hearing will be held on July 18 at 6 p.m. in the service authority building located at 620 Cooperative Way, Arrington.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

Erin Conway covers Nelson County. Reach her at (434) 385-5524 or econway@newsadvance.com.

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