Covington looks to eliminate water rate differential

COVINGTON - The city is working toward implementation of a new water and sewer rate ordinance that will eliminate a rate differential between customers inside and outside the city limits, while it increases rates for large water and sewer customers.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to authorize City Attorney Ed Crudup to begin working on the ordinance that is expected to take effect July 1, 2009, with the new budget year.

As proposed, the ordinance will equalize rates for customers in all usage categories. Customers who use up to the minimum 3,000 gallons will be charged $13.55 per thousand gallons whether they live inside or outside the city limits. This represents no change for customers inside the city limits and a rate decrease of $1.35 per thousand gallons for customers outside the city.

Water and sewer customers who use 3,001 to 50,000 gallons per month will see no rate change inside the city limits and a decrease of 95 cents per thousand gallons outside the city. Customers in this usage category will be charged $4.32 per 1,000 gallons.

Rates for large water and sewer customers will be equalized at $4.50 per 1,000 gallons, an increase of 98 cents per 1,000 gallons for those inside the city (28 percent) and an increase of 43 cents per thousand gallons (10.5 percent) for those outside the city limits.

At a work session prior to the council's regular meeting Monday night, City Manager Steve Horton said rates had not been adjusted since March 2005.

"It's not a big change, but in today's environment, anything's a big change," Horton said of the proposed rates.

Horton said the elimination of the rate differential is a result of more concentrated development outside the city limits. In the past, he said, water service outside the city was more expensive to provide because of the cost of developing infrastructure where there was less population density.

Alice Queen can be reached at alice.queen@rockdalecitizen.com.