Water rate increase is inevitable

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

The Salyersville Water District is trying to figure out how to fix a huge debt problem.

City officials say Salyersville Water Works is currently in debt nearly $180,000, and it's just getting worse.

"We're going in the hole about $12,000 a month now, and we just can't pay our bills," Salyersville Mayor James "Pete" Shepherd said.

Mayor Shepherd is now looking at bringing in Utility Management Group to help figure out a solution.

"Seeing if they can get the management back to showing a profit or let us know at least what we need to do to show a profit," Mayor Shepherd said.

UMG officials have visited Salyersville a few times to take a closer look at the problem.

"They really don't have any kind of a handle on their current financial situation. They do not have a budget. They do not have a handle on their cash flow needs. It's a pretty critical situation right now," Bob Meyer with UMG said.

Salyersville residents say they are fearing rate increases, but both UMG and Mayor Shepherd agree that they are probably necessary.

"I do feel like it's inevitable. I feel like that both on the water and sewer side they are just simply not generating enough revenue internally," Meyer said.

"It has to be done. There's no way we can't. We've gone nine years without a rate increase, and everything's gone up," Mayor Shepherd said.

If UMG steps in, they say Salyersville will likely see see a slow turnaround within six months. Residents can expect to pay nearly 25% more, though those numbers can not be finalized until UMG gathers all the data needed.

Mayor Shepherd says whatever has to happen, they will fix the problem.

"It's up to us to do it and we're going to do it," he said.

The City Commission will meet Wednesday for a final discussion and vote on the possible solutions.


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