WORTHINGTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — At an Aug. 16 Worthington City Council meeting, officials announced they would be raising water rates.
Worthington City Council previously voted to move forward with securing funding for water system upgrades, so the city must now raise its water rates.
At the meeting, City Attorney Jeff Van Volkenburg said there are two different steps that must be taken before the bill can be raised. To start, the city council must have two public readings before the rate increase takes effect. Citizens will have 45 days after second reading to prepare for the increase in their bills.
Readings must be spaced a week apart, and five days before the second reading the news must be published in the newspaper in a specific format by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Water Services Rates Ordinance (Courtesy of Renee Courtney)
Rate changes must be included on the water bill the month before they take effect. Van Volkenburg brought copies of the increase ordinance to the meeting and informed council that he will need to have copies for community members to see at public readings.
Renee Courtney, an avid participant, worries that citizens have not been properly informed and fears that community members will react when it is too late. She said she was worried “because they don’t give their agendas to the media, to publish them, they just put them on the door, and that’s all they can do. Many people pay their bills online or do not go to the town hall. The communities are older, low-income communities, and they need to be given every opportunity to have their voices heard.
At the meeting, the sewer increase rates were also mentioned. Courtney provided a video of the meeting online for community members to watch. In the video, it said the topic was voted to move forward in January, but Courtney also provided a clip from the January meeting where they dropped the topic and allegedly never saw it again. Courtney wrote on a black screen in her video that the subject matter was an attempt to create an ordinance to charge people with vacant properties sewer fees in addition to the water bill.
Worthington’s new mayor, Melvin Lindsey, said he was waiting for word from the city attorney to decide when the public readings will be held. We will post updates as we receive them.