Yadkin Valley Sewer Authority holds hearing Tuesday, expects rate increases

By Troy Brooks - tbrooks@civitasmedia.com

The Yadkin Valley Sewer Authority (YVSA) has prepared its budget for the coming fiscal year and will hold a public hearing Tuesday at 9 a.m. Rate increases are included in the proposed budget.

The budget is hoped to function as a “work plan” to help guide operations in an attempt to accomplish goals and objectives installed by the chairman and the board of directors. The YVSA board held a meeting on May 25 to discuss rates and line items along with projected operating costs.

The YVSA provides sewer services for the towns of Elkin, Jonesville, Ronda and surrounding areas.

Two fee increases have been proposed for the coming fiscal year.

In the proposed budget, the volume-metric rate will be increased from $9 per 1,000 gallons above the 2,000 gallon minimum to $9.50. The minimum bill also would increase from $20 to $21 for 2,000 gallons of sewer. These increases are due to debt service payments starting this upcoming year, according to authority officials.

“We have eight service items noted for this 16-17 fiscal year,” said Executive Director Nicole Johnston. “Our project operating expenditure costs are estimated to be $1,995,780. What we are trying to do is get to the point where we can add some amount to our fund balance. Our operating expenses are about $1,360,000, our debt reimbursements to the town of Elkin are $169,000, we have other debt payments of $261,000, and our capital about $150,000.”

A lot of the revenue is being used for repair and maintenance for pump stations. Sludge hauling is a big expense for the waste water treatment plant with about $60,000 going towards sludge hauling this year. Pump station repair maintenance will be $50,000 and accounting and audit services will be about $35,000.

“We also have our loan fees,” said Johnston. “We’ve finished two major projects this past year — the pump station rehab phase 2 project and the Southwest Elkin project. For the Rehab Phase 2 project, we did a lot of upgrades to the collection system and pump stations. We upgraded 13 pump stations in our system out of our 24 stations. We also eliminated four stations so we could gravity feed them into the system. We did have grants and zero-percent loan money for those projects, but costs came up to about $1.4 million. This is all finished out so next year we’ve got to start paying back on the loan fees. We also had the Southwest Elkin project where we rehabilitated about five miles of the southwest area lines, fixed clean-outs, and put in inserts for flow. That costed about $1.2 million. We’ve done a lot of work last year.”

The YVSA suspects it may need to increase sewer rates again next year due to capital needs and revenues. The staff of YVSA is still looking for ways to cut costs.

“We struggle every year,” said Johnston. “We don’t have tax revenue. We are strictly sewer revenue only and for that we have not put any money into a fund balance increase and that has caused us to struggle. We have replaced and repaired a lot of our system, but as we get into our seventh year we are still a baby company. Still, we’ve had a lot of changes in that time and we’re starting to get some better equipment.”

The YVSA welcomes comments during the budget public hearing Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the YVSA center.

Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.

By Troy Brooks


comments powered by Disqus