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BPW Commissioners vote unanimously to increase rates Print E-mail
Written by Mallory Biering   

Board of Public Works Commissioners made a unanimous decision to raise rates last Thursday at the August 16th meeting. The Board of Public Works Commissioners held a monthly meeting in order to discuss the previously suggested 4% increase in rates. In the August 1st edition of the Advertizer- Herald, an article titled, "BPW Manager explains rate increase," explained the upcoming increase on September 1st billing statements. Due to the previous board meeting not having enough members present to make a vote on the increase, the decision was made Thursday to follow through with a proposal from Navillus Utility Consulting, LLC (NUC).

This increase in rates will allow each department to become, "self-sufficient and not dependent upon cash flow from [other] departments to subsidize rates." Board of Public Works Manager, Will Martin, stated that making these increases now, rather than later, will save the community money. Dr. Marion Dwight, chairman of the BPW Commissioners, said during the meeting that it was better to make these increases now, rather than later, when the increase could be even higher.

Not only is the increase in rates due to a future goal of having self sufficient departments, but the price the BPW pays for the utilities from Santee Cooper and the Southeast Power Administration (SEPA) has also increased. Therefore, this would of course lead to an increase of rates.

The final reason for the increase in rates is to bring the cash reserve of the BPW to the desired $5.5 million rather than the current $3.9 million. With the cash reserve at this amount, the department can avoid paying interest on loans, which may have been obtained for the maintenance of equipment.

Matt Medlin, a commissioner for the BPW, asked during the meeting, about "shopping around" for other places to purchase utilities. In December 2012, when the contract with Santee Cooper and SEPA has ended, the board will have either found another place to purchase utilities, or will continue with the same provider. Either way the board decides to go, an annual review, of the proposed plan from NUC, will determine future rate increases.

The board was very concerned about the financial situations the community may face with these increases.

Knowledge about "going green" is crucial to keeping utility bills at a minimum, and any information needed can be obtained from the BPW. Any further information or questions may be addressed by contacting the board at (803) 245-5128.

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