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Asheboro proposes 2 percent water rate increase for 2024-25

Janet Imrick

Randolph Hub


ASHEBORO — The Asheboro City Council is proposing a 2 percent water rate increase for the 2024-25 fiscal year.


City Finance Officer Debbie Reaves said the rate, which would come out to about $1.41 on an average household's monthly water bill, will not be enough to cover expenses from maintenance and repairs to aging systems and the larger projects for water treatment, but it will help fill that gap.


At the City Council's meeting on June 6, Reaves said, "Large increases are really hard on our citizens. If we do multiple small increases over time, it is a lot easier on our citizens. It's another reason I'm asking you to talk about this and be thoughtful about this request." 


She said a 2 percent increase could bring an additional $320,751 to the city.


She said annual rate increases were recommended by a professional rate study in 2015, but not implemented. Water and sewer rates were last increased in 2022.


The city council instructed Reaves to revise the budget proposal by adding that rate increase ahead of their scheduled meeting to vote on adopting a budget for the new fiscal year on June 27.


They also asked to raise the monthly fees for grinder pumps in the Tot Hill Farm neighborhood, from $10 to $20. Reaves suggested increasing that fee annually due to the costs of repairing and replacing grinder pumps. With an installation cost of $9,900 and an average lifespan of four years, the grinder pumps cost the city about $12,237 a year.


Reaves had recommended a $15 increase, arguing that it would be easier on residents. Mayor Pro Tem Walker Moffitt said that the demands of the grinder pump repairs warranted a higher increase. "I'm just saying, that's horrendously cheap," he said. "They're high maintenance items even if you operate them correctly."


The final request from city council was to revise the revenue from Asheboro City Schools. Reaves said she could not easily predict that number because last year's numbers were impacted by water line leaks. The city council said that would likely be higher than the suggested $50,000.


The water and sewer fund was balanced at $23,282,669 for the upcoming year. Reaves said this year, the city will lose $203,000 in its traditional revenue from the zoo. With the annexation of the property, the zoo will begin paying the lower in-city water fees.


The city anticipates spending $6,682,800 in contracted services. Projects include the Lake Bunch intake, the Lake Reese generator,and work on various lift stations. Many of these projects, Reaves said, need to be completed ahead of the economic development projects coming to Randolph County.


"North Carolina general statues say enterprise funds must be self-sufficient,” Reaves said. “If you look at our budget, we are using loans and grants to cover this."


Council member Bill McCaskill requested they schedule a workshop on what's needed for the water treatment plant and the lake infrastructure. "It seems we just keep kicking the can down the road and hoping something doesn't happen to them,” he said.


The water and sewer fund was presented along with the general fund, which is budgeted at $48,188,719. The city is not currently proposing a tax rate increase this year.