The Poolesville Town Commission adopted an 8 percent increase in the town’s water and sewer rates Monday, a change that officials say will pay the salary for a much-needed new employee.
Under the new rates, customers using up to 30,000 gallons per quarter will see their rates go from $8.11 per 1,000 gallons to $8.76, while customers using 30,001 to 40,000 gallons would see their rates go from $9.08 per 1,000 gallons to $9.81.
The commission voted 4-0 in favor of the increase. Commissioner Jerome Klobukowski was not present.
“We spent a lot of time on this at our four-hour budget meeting [March 23],” said Commissioner Brice Halbrook. “It’s always a tough call.”
Commissioners initially considered a 12 percent increase to pay for the long-delayed hire of one full-time and one part-time employee but opted to further delay the part-time hire in order to lessen the increase. But the increase that was adopted will help the town’s water and wastewater operations pay for themselves, without the need of an infusion from the town’s general fund, Commissioner Charles Stump said.
By comparison, the City of Rockville charges customers using 24,000 or more gallons a total of $12.96 per 1,000 gallons for water and sewer service, while the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission charges customers using about 30,000 gallons per quarter $12.55 per 1,000 gallons for water and sewer service.
The town also raised its charge for hydrant use — by which businesses such as landscaping services or pool companies can fill their water trucks — from $5.50 per 1,000 gallons to $6.31 per 1,000 gallons, putting the town on par with the WSSC rate, Town Manager Wade Yost said.
“We have pool guys actually come here and buy cheaper water and take it out of town,” Yost said.
The commission also discussed the future possibility of charging the town’s three public schools and county-owned public swimming pool a higher water use rate because those institutions don’t pay taxes.
“We have to figure out how that would work,” said Jim Brown, president of the Town Commission.