Lubeck Public Service District requesting rate increase

The request comes as a result of a wide variety of issues the district is facing, according to Rocky McConnell, GM of the Lubeck Public Service District
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 7:14 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - The Lubeck Public Service District last increased their rates less than three years ago. Now, they’re interested in raising their rates again by 8.8% for sewer service and 9.6% for water.

WTAP spoke with Rocky McConnell, general manager of the Lubeck Public Service District. He said the request comes as a result of a wide variety of issues the district is facing.

McConnell said inflation has driven the cost of treatment chemicals up. “Some of our chemical costs have doubled, some of them have actually almost tripled,” he said. “Chlorine for example went from $64 a cylinder to $230 a cylinder.”

On top of that, McConnell said they’ve needed to replace the roof of their water plant since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. “That roof has went up almost double in price since we originally started looking for funding. That water plant roof now is a quarter of a million dollars just to replace that roof.”

The roof needs replacing, McConnell said, due to leaks throughout the facility. McConnell said he’s concerned that the leaking water could damage important electrical equipment.

On top of that, McConnell listed other issues.

“The garage roof’s leaking. To get it recoated is about $25,000. We’ve got issues with our parking lot, the blacktop’s coming apart, so it all needs to be sealed and recoated.”

Prior to requesting the rate increase, McConnell said the Public Service District has already made efforts to cut costs. Since the last rate increase, he said, every new employee has had to pay 25% of their insurance premiums, as well as paying for any family members on their policy. He said this doesn’t make up for all of the expenses the district has incurred, and it comes with its own drawbacks. “It makes it a little rougher to maintain quality employees when you tell them they have to pay for certain things.”

In another cost-cutting measure, McConnell said the district is replacing parts of their Green Sand Filters that filter raw water from their wells themselves. Normally, he said, a contractor would be hired to do this.

McConnell also said Lubeck has started talking with other Wood County PSDs to investigate cost sharing for their treatment chemicals. “We’re all working together to see what all chemicals that we use in common, and see if maybe we can get a supplier that would meet the demands of all us at once, so instead of having multiple surcharges for delivery and such things like that. We’re just now exploring them avenues.”

McConnell said he’s in the process of attempting to procure funding by reaching out to senators and congressmen.

Public hearings regarding the rate increased are planned in the near future.