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L-EWA customers may pay more next summer

Posted: November 5, 2010 1:30 p.m.
Updated: November 10, 2010 5:00 a.m.

An early draft of the Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority’s (L-EWA) fiscal year 2012 budget -- handed out during the L-EWA Board of Directors' Nov. 4 meeting -- recommends a rate increase that’ll add $9 per month onto a customer signed on for the minimum residential usage, totaling more than $110 for the year.

The recommended new rate comes primarily from a jump in the administrative fee, from $15.30 to $24.40. The rise in water cost is a few cents per 1,000 gallons.

The draft was prepared with a lot of time to make adjustments, said L-EWA General Manager Mike Hancock. A final budget doesn’t have to be passed until June 2011, with the next fiscal year beginning July 2011.

The proposed increase comes in line with a recommendation from the authority’s auditors that said the L-EWA should increase rates gradually over the next few years to assure they meet their required bond payments, which jumps up in FY 2012 more than $300,000.

The authority is anticipating 75 new taps in FY 2012, equaling $45,000 of revenue. Total estimates from water sales revenue amount to approximately $4.7 million.

The budget draft lists total operating expenses at more than $2.25 million, with total estimated revenue coming in at more than $5 million.

The primary expense is $977,000 for salaries and wages. System maintenance and supplies are listed at $110,000.

Listed as “factors to consider” are that the authority’s bond covenant requires it to have 1.2 times its loan payments after covering operational expenses, the new billing for fire departments and municipalities and several new customers added in the current fiscal year, including Doby’s Mill Elementary, KershawHealth’s outpatient center off Exit 87, apartments on Roy Truesdale Road and two residential developments.

The board also approved a purchase for another variable frequent drive (VFD) at the pump station. The machine was recommended by Hancock, which he said is an energy and cost saving machine.

The authority already has a one VFD, which Hancock said has worked well. The price tag for the machine from Collins Controls, Inc was listed at $13,500.

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