CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Harrison County Commission approved two rate increases during Wednesday’s Commission meeting.
The first, a 26 percent sewage rate increase for customers of the Greater Harrison Public Service District. The other approved increase is for the landline fees of Harrison/Taylor 911.
The PSD requested the increase in order to move forward with a $30 million project to expand sewage service throughout Harrison County. Commission President Ron Watson said PSD received a grant for $2 million toward the project.
The increase, which will go into effect in August, is broken down into three different steps for the project, Watson said.
“It’s a total of 26 percent for three steps, and each step is a little over 8 percent to get to the 26,” he said. “What that means on a customer’s charge, is approximately $5 on each of those or $15 total at the end.”
Some residents are already displeased with the increase, Watson said.
“They really are not understanding cost of living inflation. Gas prices don’t stay the same and neither does the price for a gallon of milk,” he said. “Those people who have sewer now, I’m sure that somebody had to help pay the cost of the loan and the grants that went into putting that sewer in place.”
In total, the project will add about 1,300 new customers to the PSD’s sewage service.
“Enterprise alone has about 500 homes, and all of the sewer in that particular community is dumping into the West Fork River,” Watson said. “Then you go on down a few miles to Worthington, and you’ll see kids swimming in that water, people fishing in that water, so I mean there is a dire need.”
In fact, Watson hopes this project is only the beginning of expanding public services throughout Harrison County.
“We would love to see water, sewer and internet access to every resident within our county, but there’s a cost to doing that,” he said.
Watson said having that infrastructure in place would significantly help with future development.
“When companies look to move into our area, they look to see if the infrastructure is already in place, and if it’s not, then that’s an additional cost,” he said. “Many times, they’ll just overlook us and go to another area, so infrastructure is really important to the economic part of our community.”
In addition to sewage rate increases, Harrison County residents will also see an increase on 911 fees, specifically landline fees associated with the 911 services.
The landline rate for Harrison County has held steady at 98 cents since 1988, while other counties throughout the state have charged $3 or more per month per landline. Cell phone fees already run $3 per month for Harrison County residents.
Commission approved an increase for landlines from 98 cents to $3. The increase will go into effect sometime this fall.
The increase will greatly help with the new telephone system soon to be integrated with Harrison/Taylor 911. Watson said the new system is estimated to cost between $300,000 and $400,000.
“And 911 is something that you want to make darn sure that you have the best that you can afford because that’s the lifeline, not only to the emergency service people our here, the police and fire, but also to the citizens,” he said. “You want to make sure that you have equip that is up to date and can handle emergencies.”