RIDGEWAY — The Town of Ridgeway has begun its budget preparation and is pondering a water rate increase to its customers to alleviate the rate increase from its wholesale provider, The Town of Winnsboro.
Council will hold a work session in the near future to work on the FY 2014-2015 budget.
After taking an informal consensus, council agreed to utilize the same process as last year, where council will allow town staff to prepare the budget and then review it during an upcoming work session.
Councilman Donald Prioleau supported keeping the same process.
“It worked last year, so I’d like to use those steps again this year,” he said.
Council’s preliminary discussions revolved around increased water rates in order to allow the town clerk to prepare the budget accordingly before council’s review.
Councilman Russ Brown said he would like to stay with what the town has consistently done, which is just pass on the rate increase on to its customers from the Town of Winnsboro.
“I’d like to keep our rates and increases in line as much as we can with what we’ve traditionally done,” he said.
Last year, council voted to just pass on the rate increase without adding any additional fees.
Council also discussed changing the base rate, for the first 1,000 gallons, which is currently $13.91.
A typical household will use 3,000 gallons on average according to council.
Councilman Doug Porter proposed upping the base rate to $15 and Prioleau stated he would not want to see the base rate exceed that.
Council is looking to renovate the town’s 75,000 gallon tank with a new coat of paint.
The maintenance is needed every eight to nine years and the last time it was done, it cost the town $17,000.
Mayor Charlene Herring anticipated having to account for some needed changes.
“We’re going to a new system and the renovations, we’re going to have to do something,” she said.
Herring suggested inquiring about what other towns that are in similar size to Ridgeway have done in order to compare rate increases and fees.
“Everything has gone up and our system is old,” she noted.
Herring tasked Porter to look into proposed rates since he works in utilities in Kershaw County.
The millage rate will stand pat as it has since 2008.
Budget Control Board requires municipalities to charge a millage rate in order to receive a Local Option Sales Tax.