Proposed Rate & Fee Changes

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Water and Sewer Rate Study 

Background Information

On June 14, 2019, Dorchester County Water & Sewer entered into a contract with Hazen and Sawyer to perform a water and sewer rate study.

On December 13, 2019, the completed rate study was shared with County Council in a workshop for informational purposes only. No action was taken at that time. 

The findings show that Dorchester County rates are some of the lowest in the tri-county area. At the same time operational, maintenance, and materials costs have continued to increase. This includes increased regulations and testing for five water wells and two wastewater treatment plants. Electricity costs for the 135+ sewer pump stations has also increased. 

The cost of construction for water and sewer line repairs and replacement has risen, as well.

Dorchester County has aggressively pursued grants and appropriations to maintain and stabilize the costs of operating a growing water and sewer utility. 

Additionally, Dorchester County Water and Sewer purchases the majority of the water that serves water customers from the Charleston Water System (CWS) who's rates have increased 11 times since 2010.

The rate study recommends increases to cover the costs of operations and maintenance, as well as systems improvement and expansion.

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, County Council gave first reading to an ordinance to amend Chapter 44, Utilities, Water and Sewer Services, of the Dorchester County Code of Ordinances. At the same time the ordinance was referred to the Water & Sewer Committee of Council for a recommendation and public hearing.

Water & Sewer Rate and Fee Increase History

Dorchester County has adjusted water and sewer rates twice in the last 12 years. The rates were last adjusted in 2015. Prior to that, water and sewer rates were increased in 2008.

Wastewater (sewer) impact fees have not changed since 2002.

Dorchester County has not adjusted Water Impact Fees since 2006.

Dorchester County has not adjusted the Water Connection fees (Tap fee) since 2006

Dorchester County has not adjusted the Wastewater Connection fees (Tap fee) since 2006.

Next Steps

The Water & Sewer Committee of Council will hold a Public Hearing at 5:45 PM on Monday, March 16, 2020 in the Summerville County Council Chambers located at 500 N. Main Street. Following the public hearing, the committee will make a recommendation to County Council for 2nd reading.

At 6:00 PM on Monday, March 16, 2020 County Council will have 2nd reading of the Ordinance to Amend Chapter 44, Utilities, Water and Sewer Services, of the Dorchester County Code of Ordinances.

If Council approves 2nd reading the third and final reading will be held at the April 6, 2020, County Council Meeting that will be held at 6:00 PM in the Willie R. Davis Council Chambers located at 201 Johnston Street in St. George. 

Second and third reading are required before adoption.

If approved new water and sewer rate and fees will take effect in July 2020.


Proposed Sewer Rate Increases

Residential

 Rate Date Change  Rate

Current Rate

$40.00

July 1, 2020

$44.80

July 1, 2021

$50.20

July 1, 2022

$56.20

July 1, 2023

$61.25

July 1, 2024

$66.15

Commercial

 Rate Date Change  Rate

Currently for first 7,000 Gallons

$40

July 1, 2020

$44.80

July 1, 2021

$50.20

July 1, 2022

$56.20

July 1, 2023

$61.25

July 1, 2024

$66.15

Currently for every 1,000 Gallons over 7,000 $7.40 

July 1, 2020

$8.30

July 1, 2021

$9.30

July 1, 2022

$10.40

July 1, 2023

$11.65

July 1, 2024

$12.70


Proposed Water Rate Change

Note: Water rates are based on the meter size. A Residential meter is normally 3/4" in size. The base rate is up to $3,000. 

Rate Date Change

RATE

 ¾” Water Base Rate

Current Rate $25

July 1, 2020

$27.63

July 1, 2021

$30.53

July 1, 2022

$33.74

July 1, 2023

$35.72

July 1, 2024

$37.19

1” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $44

July 1, 2020

$48.63

July 1, 2021

$53.73

July 1, 2022

$59.38

July 1, 2023

$62.35

July 1, 2024

$65.46

1 ½” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $83

July 1, 2020

$91.73

July 1, 2021

$101.36

July 1, 2022

$112.01

July 1, 2023

$117.61

July 1, 2024

$123.49

2” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $126

July 1, 2020

$139.26

July 1, 2021

$153.88

July 1, 2022

$170.03

July 1, 2023

$174.54

July 1, 2024

$187.46

3” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $202

July 1, 2020

$223.25

July 1, 2021

$246.69

July 1, 2022

$272.59

July 1, 2023

$286.22

July 1, 2024

$300.54

4” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $291

July 1, 2020

$321.61

July 1, 2021

$355.38

July 1, 2022

$392.70

July 1, 2023

$412.33

July 1, 2024

$432.95

6” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $422

July 1, 2020

$466.39

July 1, 2021

$515.37

July 1, 2022

$569.48

July 1, 2023

$597.95

July 1, 2024

$627.85

8” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $477

July 1, 2020

$527.18

July 1, 2021

$582.53

July 1, 2022

$643.70

July 1, 2023

$675.89

July 1, 2024

$709.68

10” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $532

July 1, 2020

$587.97

July 1, 2021

$649.70

July 1, 2022

$717.92

July 1, 2023

$753.82

July 1, 2024

$791.51

12” Water Base Rate

Current Rate is $587

July 1, 2020

$648.75

July 1, 2021

$716.87

July 1, 2022

$792.14

July 1, 2023

$831.75

July 1, 2024

$873.34

Water Usage 3001-7000 gallons

$ increase per 1,000 gallons

July 1, 2020

$3.48

July 1, 2021

$3.85

July 1, 2022

$4.25

July 1, 2023

$4.46

July 1, 2024

$4.68

Water Usage 7001 gallons and above

 

July 1, 2020

$3.77

July 1, 2021

$4.17

July 1, 2022

$4.60

July 1, 2023

$4.83

July 1, 2024

$5.02

Fire Suppression Sprinkler Fee Rate

$42 for first 500 heads

$0.20 for each additional