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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,

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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