Poolesville residents are paying more for their water after the Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to raise water rates by 15 percent on May 21.
The revenue from the increase, effective May 30, will go directly to the Water and Wastewater Fund to fill an approximately $100,000 deficit, according to Town Manager Wade Yost.
The deficit in the fund, which pays for all water and wastewater management issues, is due to a rise in costs of salaries, benefits, communications, chemicals and sludge disposal, Yost said.
The commissioners originally proposed a $15 dollar per quarter sewer fee on all properties. But, because of complaints that the fee would be unfair to those who used less water, commissioners changed the fee to a 15 percent increase in rates to proportionally charge for water use, said Commissioner President Paul E. Kuhlman II.
The commissioners will hold a public forum on July 9 to discuss the possibility of adding water rate increases to the budget process. If passed the new procedure would allow the commissioners to increase the water rate up to 2 percent without passing a separate resolution, said Yost.
As an incorporated town, Poolesville is responsible for its own water and sewers. The town relies on groundwater to supply its residents.
News about the increase in rates has been met with mixed reaction in the area.
“Clean water is precious and you have to pay for it. Do I want to pay more? No,” said John Sparrow, a Poolesville resident.
Other residents are not as understanding. “I think it sucks,” said John Slalgle, “I don’t think we need it, I’m happy with my water.”
Billy Appleton is not convinced Poolesville is providing quality water. “It’s not clean, there are so many minerals in it,” he said. Appleton blamed the amount of people living in the area and recent development for the minerals in the water.
Poolesville’s most recent water report does not measure minerals; however, it does measure a variety of chemicals and elements, including sodium. Samplings of the water found that sodium levels ranged from 9.3 to 24.3 ppm (parts per million) of sodium depending on which well was sampled. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that sodium in water levels not exceed 20 ppm.