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Bridgeport may seek water rate increase

by Shawn Gainer

STAFF WRITER

The Bridgeport Public Works Department may seek a water rate increase in the aftermath of approval of a rate increase for the Clarksburg Water Board.

The Public Works Department purchases water for its 3,800 customers from the Clarksburg Water Board. The city is looking for a firm to complete a study of how the department will be affected by the Clarksburg increase, said Dan Ferrell of the Bridgeport Public Works Department.

"The primary reason for a rate study is the increase in the price of purchasing water from the Clarksburg Water Board," Ferrell said. "We have to pay the final number that comes from the PSC."

In September, the water board requested an average 15.9 percent rate increase from the state Public Service Commission. The cities of Anmoore, Bridgeport and Stonewood, as well as three public service districts, filed a protest. In a May 12 ruling, the PSC granted the water board an initial average increase of 9.91 percent, to be followed by an increase of 3.67 percent after construction of a replacement for the Chestnut Street water tank.

The amount of the second increase may change pending the outcome of a certification case for the water tank, according to Dan Adkins, finance director and interim general manager of the water board.

The last water rate increase in Bridgeport took effect May 1, 1996. The 32 percent increase was used to finance $2.5 million in upgrades, which included a new water storage tank and water line replacements, according to Exponent and Telegram reports.

Bridgeport customers pay $5.16 per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons used. After 4,000 gallons, the rate is $4.78 for 1,000 gallons. The American Water Works Association standard for average residential use is 4,500 gallons a month, said Marsha Hill of the PSC.

The PSC-ordered rate for the Clarksburg Water Board, before construction of a replacement water tank, is $4.86 per 1,000 gallons, assuming a residential rate of use. These figures do not include minimum charges for meter types.

The pre-construction-ordered rate for resale to other utilities from the Clarksburg Water Board is $2.14 per 1,000 gallons.

Adkins said that is an increase of approximately 20 cents per 1,000 gallons.

"We feel the rates for resale are as reasonable as they can be, and that was reflected in the rate ruling," Adkins said.

Staff writer Shawn Gainer can be reached at 626-1442.

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