Tax to rise on water, sewer

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The tax for water and sewer in the Town of Victoria is proposed to rise $2 and $3 respectively to offset the cost of the water and sewer repairs the town has undergone in the past year, a news release from the Town of Victoria cited.

The town will discuss this and other items for its fiscal year 2018-2019 budget during its budget hearing May 8.

For residents and businesses in the town, the minimum charge for water is proposed for $30.50 for 3,000 gallons, up $2 from the previous year’s rate of $28.33 from the 2017 fiscal year budget, according to a news release from the town.

For each 1,000 gallons that exceeds the 3,000-gallon minimum, the rate is proposed to be $5.17 per 1,000 gallons, which remains the same from the previous year.

Outside the town, residents and businesses that use the minimum rate for 3,000 gallons may pay $30.50, proposed to be up $2 from the previous year.

For those who use water outside the town that exceeds the minimum gallon amount, the rate will be $5.17 per 1,000 gallons.

The sewer rate for businesses and residents within the town is $18.50 for 3,000 gallons, up $3 from last year’s rate of $15.50. For sewer used that exceeds the minimum, the rate will be $5.54 per 1,000 gallons, down $1 from the previous year’s rate of $6.54.

A sewer charge of $28.50 will apply for those who only use sewer within the town, which will be an increase of $3. A sewer charge outside of the town corporate limits for residents and businesses is proposed to be $18.50, up $3 from $15.50 to use 3,000 gallons.

For sewer used in excess of the fixed quantity allowed for the minimum charge, the rate shall be $5.54 per 1,000 gallons used, the release cited.

Outside of town, a sewer charge of $28.50, up $3, is proposed for residents or businesses that only use sewer.

A release from the Town of Victoria about its infrastructure noted that the installation of the ground water tank near the intersection of Court Street and Main Street, the elevated water storage tank at the intersection of Mecklenburg Avenue and W. First Street and portions of the underground infrastructure began in the 1920s.

The release noted that the age of the piping and some of the materials they were made with have caused multiple instances of burst pipes that began last fall.

The age and materials of many of these pipes are cited as some of the causes of “many of the infrastructure issues being faced by the Town of Victoria and many other small towns around the country,” the release cited, noting numerous repairs to the piping in the fall of 2017. “The fragility of the water and sewer infrastructure in the Town of Victoria became overwhelmingly apparent as town crews worked to repair leaks on a daily basis while the elevated water storage tank was being rehabilitated.”

The release also cited the elevated water tank as a component of the water issues in the town.

“The water distribution system for the town is comprised of several elements: the raw water source, the pumps at the raw water source, the raw water line to bring the water to the filtration plant, the filtration plant, the storage tanks and the distribution system,” the release cited. “Under normal operations water is treated and pumped to the elevated storage tank. The height of the elevated tank provides the pressure for the distribution system, which is normally around 50 psi. During the time of the tank rehabilitation pressure was maintained 24 hours a day by pumps. The pumping action put additional pressure and water movement in the pipes that is not usually present when operating off of the pressure of the elevated storage tank. This extra pressure and water movement led to many of the issues faced in the fall of 2017.”

The release noted that the town forces will work on a few projects to repair the piping in the town, including in the area of Old Court Street and Grove Avenue that is set to be completed this spring, and at First Street from Main Street to Marshall Avenue, which is in the planning stages, to be completed this fall.

“All of these projects will be using town forces,” the release noted, citing that the town, coordinating with the Virginia Department of Transportation, was able to rebuild the water distribution line from Court Street to West Third Street at approximately the third of the cost of a private contractor.

The release cited that more than 500 feet of sewer line has been replaced due to collapsing concrete lines since November. “Problems with the water and sanitary sewer will continue to occur but town officials are hoping that with the current public works crew progress can be made to replace and/or upgrade these lines,” the release cited.

Addressing the potential for the town to apply for grants to make repairs, the release cited that more and more grants are requiring loans.

“Town officials do not feel that it is in the best interest of the town to take on anymore indebtedness unless it becomes mandatory,” the release cited.

“The Town of Victoria appreciates the cooperation and patience of the town’s citizens in dealing with the water and sewer issues,” the release cited.

Other items on the proposed 2017-2018 fiscal year budget include proposed revenue of real/personal property taxes at $204,800, sales tax at $32,000, meal tax at $20,625 and law enforcement funds at $42,288. Proposed expenditures include police department allocations at $270,592, fire/rescue at $98,500, police fines at $10,000 and streets/ sidewalks at $54,514.

For questions about this measure, the release cited to call the town office at (434) 696-2343.