ROWLAND — Rowland town commissioners are considering upping the town’s water and sewer rates.
At a meeting Wednesday, Commissioner Jean Love suggested that the base rate for 2,000 gallons of water be increased $1, from $18 to $19 a month. She also suggested that the base rate for sewer increase by $1, from $21 to $22 a month, and debt service increase 50 cents a month, from $7.50 to $8.
According to Town Clerk Brake Proctor, the additional $2.50 increase in the utility rates will generate for the town about $1,340 a month, or about $16,000 during a 12-month period. The new fees, that would become effective in March, would generate about $5,300 by the end of the current fiscal year that ends June 30, Proctor said.
Currently, Rowland has about 546 water customers and 521 sewer customers.
Proctor said an ordinance establishing the new rates will be considered by town officials at their next meeting on Feb. 8. He said that Commissioner Marvin Shooter is opposing the increases on the grounds that any increases in utility rates should be offset by expense cuts in other parts of the town’s budget.
The commissioners on Wednesday also adopted a mid-year budget ordinance that maintains the town’s General Fund at $890,350, the same amount the fund included at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1. Proctor said that the only significant change in the General Fund was an additional $20,000 for the Police Department to cover personnel and gasoline expenses. The increase was offset, he said, by cuts and reallocation of funds in other departments.
Proctor said the town’s Utility Fund decreased by $2,055. This was the result of the purchase of a $4,200 mower and decrease in operating costs of $2,145, he said.
Proctor said that Shooter voted against the mid-year budget ordinance, contending that more cuts should be made. He also said that the commissioners have requested that each town department head try to find ways to decrease their budgets by up to another 3 percent.
“I told the board that revenues have been decreasing and expenses increasing,” Proctor said. “We’ve been making cuts, but there is now no more fat to cut.”
In other business:
— The commissioners discussed changing the town’s zoning ordinance to allow for double-wide mobile homes and modular homes to be located in more than just the R-12 zone. Action was tabled until the board holds a workshop on Feb. 27, Proctor said.
— Rowland’s new postmaster, Amy Inman, introduced herself to board members. Proctor said that Inman had worked at the Rowland Post Office until 10 years ago when she went to work at the post office in Orrum.