Social Circle water, sewer rates to go up

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Social Circle residents and business owners can expect to see an increase in their next water and sewer bills.

The Social Circle City Council approved last Tuesday utility rates that amount to a net 25 percent increase for water usage and a net 15 percent for sewer service. The rates will go into effect Oct. 1.

"The increases of 25 percent (for) water and 15 percent (for) sewer are not across-the-board rate increases," said City Clerk Susan Roper in an e-mail. "They are instead a rate that will net a 25 percent increase in water revenues and a 15 percent increase in sewer revenues."

According to the rate schedule provided by the city of Social Circle, the current base rate for water customers inside the city limits is $13 a month with $0.00497 per gallon for usage that exceeds 2,000 gallons. Beginning next month, these customers will pay a $14.55 base rate and $0.00710 per gallon for usage that exceeds 2,000 gallons.

Water customers outside the city will see their base rates move from $19.55 a month to $21.85 a month. The amount per gallon for usage over 2,000 gallons will climb from $.00745 per gallon to $0.01065 per gallon.

The base rate for sewer service will likewise increase from $14.60 currently to $15.45 as of Oct. 1. The price for usage in excess of 2,000 gallons each month will rise from $0.00497 per gallon to $0.00639 per gallon.

This will be the second year Social Circle has raised water and sewer rates. According to City Manager Doug White, the city increased water and sewer rates in 2009 by 40 percent to balance a budget that was 8 percent lower than in 2008-09. He said the city was facing the prospect of raising rates by 40 percent again this year, but due to savings realized from refinancing bond debt, the increase was not that steep.

Social Circle's 2010-11 budget, which was approved in July, is $2.44 million, down from the $2.6 million 2009-10 budget. At the time the budget was first presented in June, White announced that the city planned to increase water and sewer rates.