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Water District proposes rate increase

Stearns To Smithtown Water Line Replacement: From McCreary Water District website.

By Greg Bird

The McCreary County Water District issued a notice of a proposed rate change that would see water rates increase by eight percent and sewer rates by 25 percent.
The notice, which can be viewed on page 4B of this issue of the Voice, indicates the District has filed for the rate increase with the Public Service Commission (PSC) for rate increases on both water and sewer for residential and commercial entities.
If the proposal is accepted by the PSC, residential and businesses will see a $1.63 increase in their water bill for the first 2,000 gallons of usage and an additional $0.54 for usage over 2,000 gallons. Sewer rates will increase by $4.84 for the first 2,000 gallons, followed by an additional $1.69 for the next 18,000 gallons and $1.50 for all usage over the first 20,000 gallons.

Special customers of the District, such as the prison in Pine Knot, Cumberland Falls State Park and the Whitley County Water District, will see comparable percentage increases based on their contracted usage.
Water District Supervisor Stephen Whitaker said the request for an increase was to satisfy the conditions of a loan obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through Rural Development for a large-scale project: the installation of a water main between Stearns and Smithtown, improvements to the chemical room at the wastewater treatment plant and new service lines to connect existing meters
“We try to fund projects like this through grant programs,” Whitaker said. “But due to the size and scope of the water line replacement and other parts of the overall program, we had to secure additional funding. Any time we assume debt service, we are asked to seek a rate increase to ensure we have the revenue to cover the loan.”
The District has obtained a loan of $1,324,000 for the project.
The PSC could rule on the proposal within the next 30 days. If approved the new rates would take effect immediately. The PSC could also reject the proposal outright, or issue an increase lower than the one proposed.

Since the increase is part of the RD loan program, it is very likely that the request will be approved. It would be the first rate increase for the District in four year.
The proposal in its entirety can be viewed at the McCreary County Water District office during normal business hours, or at the PSC website: Comments regarding the proposal can be submitted via the website or by mail to: PSC, P.O. Box 615, Frankfort, Kentucky 40602.

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