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Water and sewer rate increases to be reviewed by Aiken City Council

Lessie Price, Aiken City Council, Masked

Aiken City Council member Lessie Price, pictured here at a recent council work session. City Council next meets May 10. (Colin Demarest/Staff)

The Aiken City Council will review on Monday the city’s proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget, including a suggested rate increase for water and sewer services.

A 7% increase has been recommended for each, documents show. If enacted, average residential customers would see a $2.62 bump in their monthly bills. More specifically, an average residential water bill would increase 85 cents, and an average residential sewer bill would increase $1.77.

“We have periodically examined our rates and updated our rate study in 2020,” City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh explained in a memo to council members. “After much thought and deliberation, we are recommending rate increases, since our water and sewer utility is an enterprise fund that must be run as a self-supporting entity.”

The increases would help fund capital projects and system depreciation, according to Finance Director Kymberley Rooks. The city’s sewer system is old and getting older, and a new water plant is on the horizon.

Water Sewer Rates Increase, Finance Chart

(Photo provided/City of Aiken)

“In order to prepare for the costs of these projects,” Rooks said in a report to Bedenbaugh, “our financial advisor has recommended for us to stay on track with” a prior study.

No millage increase has been proposed for fiscal year 2021-22. The city’s millage rate has been set at 62 mills since 2012.

City Council’s Monday meetings begin with a 5 p.m. work session. A closed-door executive session – to discuss a potential arrangement with the Aiken Horse Park as well as the possible purchase of real estate, among other things – will follow.

Council’s regular meeting, at which the potential rate changes will be reviewed, is scheduled for 7 p.m.

City Council meets at the downtown Municipal Building, 214 Park Ave. S.W. Meetings are public and will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube page, youtube.com/CityofAikenSC.


Colin Demarest covers the Savannah River Site, the Energy Department, its NNSA, and government and politics, in general. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin.

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