Victoria looks at increases

Published 1:05 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2016

No one spoke at a recent public hearing by the Victoria Town Council on plans to increase the utility rate and meals tax.

The public hearing on plans for $2 increases in the water and sewer rates, $1 increase for trash pickup and an increase from 4 percent to 5 percent for meals tax was held on Tuesday, May 10, as part of the council’s monthly meeting.

The council is expected to adopt the changes when it passes its budget next month.

In Victoria, the minimum charge for water supplied by the town for a family or business will increase by $2 each billing cycle to $28.50 for those using 3,000 gallons, stated a notice published by the town.

The charge is the same for users outside of town, the notice.

For those using more than 3,000 gallons — the fixed quantity allowed for the minimum charge — the rate will be $5.17 per 1,000 gallons, “whether used, wasted and the like as passed through the meter,” the notice stated.

Meanwhile, the sewer rate in the town — and for those users outside of Victoria — will increase by $2 to $15.50 for those using up to 3,000 gallons. For those exceeding 3,000 gallons, the rate will be $5.54 per 1,000 gallons.

Within and outside of the town, the rate will increase by $2 to $25.50 for each billing cycle for those using sewer only, the notice stated.

In addition, the refuse charge will increase by $1 to $11 per month for in-town collection and by $1 to $14 per month for out-of-town collection. Each commercial or industrial customer would pay a refuse charge of $11 per month for in-town and $14 per month for a single regular weekly collection of refuse, it stated.

Each residential householder and each operator of a business within the service area will be assessed a 10 percent penalty for delinquent refuse bills, the notice stated.

The town is also calling for increasing the meals tax from 4 percent to 5 percent. Interim Town Manager Rodney Newton told the council that by code, 1 percent of the meals tax goes toward the town’s park, but the option of increasing the park allocation by one-half percent — approximately $8,000 — is being considered. The change would require a public hearing and would be looked at after the council passes the budget.

“I personally would like to make the change,” Councilman Ronald E. Mattox said. “There are some issues in the park we need to take care of.”

Mayor Carol R. Watson agreed with the councilman.

“I think the park is one of the town’s biggest accessories and we have to take care of it,” she said.