The town of Wise’s new budget includes a water rate hike but no tax increases.
Town council approved the fiscal 2019-20 budget at a June 25 meeting.
In a separate 4-1 vote, council approved the new water rates and reaffirmed other existing rates, with member Teresa Adkins opposing the 3 percent water rate increase, according to Town Manager Beverly Owens.
State funding for rehabilitation of the Roberts Avenue water tank requires Wise to raise water rates 3 percent per year for the next five years.
Monthly in-town water rates changed as follows:
• The cost for the first 1,000 gallons rose from $15.82 to $16.29.
• The cost for every additional 1,000 gallons increased from $6.33 to $6.52.
• The fee for sewer service if the customer does not buy water increased from $45.10 to $46.45.
For out-of-town customers:
• The rate for the first 1,000 gallons rose from $23 to $23.69.
• The cost for each additional 1,000 gallons increased from $9.20 to $9.48.
• The fee for sewer service without water service increased from $65.55 to $67.52.
Balancing the new budget requires transferring nearly $1.3 million from the town’s unbudgeted fund balance. The money will go toward several needs, including paying off debt for the Roberts Avenue water tank rehabilitation; providing local matching funds for a variety of infrastructure projects; funding vehicle and equipment purchases; setting aside reserve funds for unanticipated costs; and covering a small part of general operating costs.
Also, utility rates are not enough to fund water and sewer operations and capital projects. Thus, more than $321,300 will transfer from the general fund to the water fund and $35,550 will transfer from the general fund to the sewer fund.