A new rate structure that would provide relief for a majority the Mercer County Sanitation District’s customers is closer to reality.
Last Thursday, the district board of directors learned that a new rate structure that would reduce the bill for customers using less than 2,000 gallons a month by $8, had been approved by the federal government.
While some Burgin residents have been complaining about the $40 per month minimum bill since the sewer system’s construction, the rate reduction would apply to all of the sanitation district’s customers, not just to Burgin users. The change to the minimum bill will impact 39 percent of the sanitation district’s customer base.
The bills for those using between 2,000 and 3,999 gallons per month would be increased by about $3.70 a month. That will impact 37 percent of the sanitation district’s customer base.
The new rates are based on the cost of service per 1,000 gallons of sewage contributed to the district. Officials say the cost to the district to provide the service is approximately $15 per 1,000 gallons. Customers using more will pay more. Those using between 4,000 and 5,999 gallons per month will pay as much as $15.40 more per month. That impacts 16 percent of the sanitation district’s customer base.
The rates are based on the cost to provide treatment, operation and maintenance and the repayment of debt for capital improvements since the district began operatrion in 2009, which includes a $9.2 million funding package to the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, USDA Rural Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. Now that the federal government has given its approval, the Mercer County Fiscal Court will have to approve the rate change and give it first and second reading.
The final step before presenting it to the fiscal court is for the district to get the current rates from the cities of Danville and Harrodsburg for the strength of waste surcharge found in the oridinance in case a new industrial user comes into the area. District officials say they hope to present the measure to the fiscal court next month.
Approximately 39 percent of the sanitation district’s customers could see a reduction in their monthly bills when the rate change goes into effect. The sanitation district’s attorney, Larry Catlett, said the reduction would be beneficial to the customers.
“You’re reducing the cost for lower users by 20 percent,” Catlett said. “I think it’s a good thing. It’s good for the community.”