WASHINGTON, W.Va.- A potential increase in water rates was discussed by the Lubeck Public Service District during its meeting Thursday night.
Phil Postlewait, accountant for the Lubeck PSD, recommended the district ask for an increase of 19 to 20 percent. Postlewait said the Public Service Commission has a history of changing the amount of an increase.
An increase of 19 percent would allow the district to build up a reserve of $6,000 over a year, Postlewait said.
In December 2009, the Lubeck PSD asked for an increase of five percent and the PSC reduced the increase to three percent, said Commissioner John Sines.
Postlewait said the increase is necessary because of a combination of people using less water and an increase in the cost of supplies needed to run the district.
"With the use of water-saving faucets and commodes, in a six-month period of time the district was down some $12,000 to $13,000 in revenue from the previous year," he said.
Postlewait said maintenance projects and debt service on bonds add to the expenses the district has to cover.
Commissioner Roger Martin said after the request is submitted to the state, it will take the state 12 months to make a decision on the amount of an increase the district will be allowed to raise rates.
Postlewait said one thing that will influence the decision is how much money the district has in reserve. He said the more a district has in reserve the less of an increases the state will allow.
"They only want you to be able to cover your current bills," he said. "They don't care about how you will be able to take care of the future, just cover the bills and move on. We have $19 million in fixed assets; a reserve of only $10,000 is petty cash."
Postlewait noted if the district had to replace a pump it could cost $60,000 to $70,000. The district also has to consider the cost of refurbishing water storage tanks and replacing sand filters, he said.