Board reviews budget, rates, tap fees

By Kelly Duncan -

NEWBERRY — The Newberry County Water and Sewer Authority reviewed and approved the Fiscal 2019 draft budget, rates and tap fees Thursday evening.

Payroll and benefits saw a total change of 5.5 percent, 13 employees in water and three in sewer along with an increase in health insurance premium.

“Our total spend on that is going to come down a bit because it depends so much on what the employees choose, it’s rare to see a decrease in health insurance costs,” said NCWSA Assistant Manager Daniel Quattlebaum.

In water, NCWSA had an increase of $25,000, budgeting to buy a new F150 pickup truck and looking to complete a mini excavator upgrade.

On the admin side, which is split 75 percent water and 25 percent, sewer will anticipate a budget increase of seven percent.

“GIS is moving up by almost $5,000, we are utilizing our GIS services much more, we’re adding applications for valve and sewer pump maintenance and we’re also surveying assets and getting everything into the system,” Quattlebaum said.

NCWSA also saw an 11 percent decrease in professional services, in both water and sewer engineering. These numbers were decreased due to the number of construction projects currently in the works.

“The federal single audit, we will have to undergo a single audit if we expend $750,000 of federal money during the fiscal year,” Quattlebaum said.

Hydrant maintenance and testing is also being decreased by $5,000.

Water plant operations will be staying the same with the exception of chemicals, with some increase being seen in chemical costs.

“We’re also using more chemicals at the plant due to increased production and also working to optimize the plant and water quality,” Quattlebaum said. “Lab equipment and supplies will see a $15,000 decrease. We are in the middle of a substantial lab overhaul, having moved to the new lab building and it was time to get some new stuff.”

Sewer operations saw a 5.2 percent increase and lab and supply equipment decreased by $5,000.

There was a 4.9 percent overall increase in system expenses.

NCWSA discussed implementing an industrial pre-treatment fee in order to bring in revenue, which would cost around $2,900 a year per user.

NCWSA Manager Brent Richardson presented to the Board the Fiscal 2019 draft rates and tap fees.

“We’re not proposing any rate changes for the base fees on water, but we are recommending a volumetric fee increase for large user rates, we’ve increased that rate roughly three percent in the past in an effort to narrow the gap between large user rates and other user rates,” Richardson said.

NCWSA is proposing a two dollar base fee increase on residential, proposing going from 660 to 880 per thousand gallons which falls right at a three percent increase.

The water capacity costs were broken down to build 150 gallons a day at the water treatment facility. The estimated cost was updated to 2.1 percent. The cost per 150 gallons went from $711 to $726.

Other business:

• The Fiscal 2019 draft budget was approved after a motion by Jerry Koon. The motion was seconded by Lewis Lee.

• The Fiscal 2019 draft rates were approved after a motion by Bryan Alvarez. The motion was seconded by Tim Nichols.

• The Fiscal 2019 draft tap fees were approved after a motion from Koon. The motion was seconded by David Wiseman.

• The industrial pre-treatment fee was approved after a motion from Nichols. The motion was seconded by Koon.

By Kelly Duncan

Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.

Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.