JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. – New water, sewer and sanitation rates will go into effect on July 1 in Johnsonville.

The Johnsonville City Council heard the results of a rate study and a meeting last week. The study was prepared by The Wooten Company. According to the company’s website, it is a multidisciplinary firm dedicated to providing engineering, geomatics and architectural services to municipalities, counties, water and sewer authorities, educational institutions and private industry across the Carolinas.

Gary Hartong, executive vice president of The Wooten Company, said the rate study covered three of the city’s enterprise funds: the sanitation department, water department and sewer department.

“And what the objective of the study was was to identify those costs specific to providing those services to your customers,” Hartong said. “And then projecting those costs forward over a five- to six-year period, then determining what you need to adjust your water and sewer and sanitation rates to in order to meet those projected expenditures.”

Sanitation rates

According to the rate study, the projected five-year total operation and maintenance totals $311,000 annually in the sanitation department. The projected capital improvement needs over the next five years total $89,000 and $19,500 annually.

The current sanitation rates generate $158,000 annually. There are projected sanitation rate needs of $221,000 annually which is a $63,000 shortfall.

The recommended sanitation rates for years 1-2 are:

  • Residential - $20.60
  • Business - $25.20
  • Commercial - $96.89
  • Outside - $20.60

Water rates

The rate study shows that the existing water rates provide discounts for higher consumption. The projected five-year total operation and maintenance totals $861,000 annually. Projected capital improvements needs over the next five years total $995,000 and $199,000 annually.

There is no anticipated debt service but a fund transfer of $24,000 annually, according to the study. Current water rates generate $725,000 annually. There are projected water rate needs of $994,000 annually, a $269,000 shortfall.

Fixed and variable costs are included in the water rates recommendation.

Fixed costs are the costs for system administration ($204,000). These costs are the minimum monthly bill.

Variable costs are the costs for system operation and improvements ($856,000). These costs include the unit charge per 1,000 gallons of consumption.

The recommended water rates for years 1-2 are:

Fixed:

  • City residential - $6.30
  • Rural residential - $9.40
  • Industrial - $6.30
  • Wastewater treatment plant- $424.00

Variable:

  • City residential - $5.04
  • Rural residential - $6.98
  • Industrial - $1.76
  • Wastewater treatment plant- $2.53

Sewer rates

The rate study said existing declining sewer rates provide discounts for higher consumption. The projected five-year total operation and maintenance totals $1,032,000 annually. The projected capital improvement needs over the next five years total $1,035,000 and $207,000 annually.

There is no anticipated debt service, but two fund transfers totaling $175,000 annually, the study said. Current sewer rates generate $1,100,000 annually. There are projected sewer rate needs of $1,410,000 annually, a $310,000 shortfall.

Fixed and variable costs are included in the sewer rates recommendation.

Fixed costs are the costs for system administration ($102,000). These costs are the minimum monthly bill.

Variable costs are the costs for system operation and improvements ($1.308M). These costs include the unit charge per 1,000 gallons of consumption.

The recommended sewer rates for years 1-2 are:

Fixed:

  • City residential - $10.70
  • Rural residential - $16.90
  • Wellman - $8.80
  • Industrial- $9

Variable:

  1. City residential - $3.57
  2. Rural residential - $5.08
  3. (0-150) Wellman - $2.89
  4. (151-300) Wellman -$1.56
  5. (>300) Wellman -$1.23
  6. Industrial- $3.16

The tiered adjustment for rates includes other increases in years 3-4 and years 5-6.

“This is what they call pancaking rate increase,” said Johnsonville City Administrator Jim Smith. “And this really, we did this specifically to be able to lessen the burden on the customers. We’re trying to be reasonable about this knowing that we need a fairly significant increase overall.”

Smith said the city is going to reach those revenue targets over a five to six-year period as opposed to a two-year period.

“And that just overburdens the customers in terms of the size of the rate increase,” Smith said. “So what we’re trying to do is make it more reasonable for the customer.”

The rate increases are necessary in order to meet the current and future needs of the city.

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