Lexington looks at higher water, sewer fees

tflach@thestate.comFebruary 17, 2015

LEXINGTON COUNTY SC — It’s probably going to cost homes and businesses more soon for water and sewer service provided by Lexington.

Lexington town officials on Tuesday started looking at a rate hike of 2.5 percent annually for each of the next five years for 15,000 homes and businesses. It’s a plan that seems “practical and conservative,” Town Councilman Ted Stambolitis said. The package is needed to pay for rising costs of operation, additional facilities planned to keep pace with growth and increasingly tougher environmental protection standards, consultant William Zieburtz said. Overall, the series of rate hikes suggested is “pretty moderate,” he said.

Town residents pay an average of nearly $64 per month for service while those outside the community pay an average of slightly more than $111 per month. The first increase would take effect July 1 if the plan is accepted by town leaders. It would be smaller than average initially after other minor adjustments in the way rates are set – 71 cents per month for the typical home in town and $1.52 per month for one outside town.

Adoption of the package is “very likely” since it provides a low-cost way to handle the demands created by steady development, Mayor Steve MacDougall said. Town officials last raised utility rates in mid-2013 with a 3 percent hike capping a series of increases.

The latest increases proposed follows one last year in areas served by Cayce and West Columbia. Those cities are partners with Lexington in providing water and sewer in the eastern half of the Lexington County. Despite some complaints, recent utility rate hikes in Lexington are less than average compared to elsewhere in the Southeast, Zieburtz said.

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