Water rates set to rise in Harpers Ferry

HARPERS FERRY – Residents here will see a modest increase in their monthly water bills following a unanimous decision of the Harpers Ferry Town Council.

“We haven’t had a rate increase since 2009, and we all know that prices are going up,” said Mayor Joe Anderson.

Joe Anderson

Joe Anderson

“When we put together the budget last year – for this year – we saw that if there wasn’t a way of getting additional revenue in then we were going to fall short of what we needed to meet the expenses that we were projecting. It looked like we were going to have a shortfall of around 4 percent, so we proposed, as part of the budget this year, that we have a 4 percent rate increase.”

Anderson said that many water lines in Harpers Ferry have been aging and are in need of repair. He hopes the Harpers Ferry Water Works will be able to shore up the system by replacing sections of line where persistent leaks arise, rather than moving for an immediate, expensive overhaul of the whole system.

“We are trying to maintain what we have. Our Water Works has been more mindful when they make repairs. If they can see that they are dealing with a problematic line, rather than just making repairs and having to come back a few months later to find another need for repairs downline, they’ve been pulling up lines and putting in new lines.”

Anderson said the approach has shown positive results so far. “They’ve managed to repair quite a few leaks, one of which had been there for quite a long duration. As a result, we’ve been able to run our pumps less to keep our tanks full.”

The piecemeal approach will likely have to be supplemented, however, he said. “We definitely have some longer-term needs to make improvements to the plant.”

Town officials are scheduled to meet with Joe Crickenberger, a USDA official connected with the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council, to discuss ways to obtain state funding for larger-scale improvements.

Anderson said a number of proposals have been floated for shoring up the water system, including a total overhaul of the plant that serves the area.

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