St. Pauls faces increase in water, sewer rates

By Bob Shiles -

J.R. Steigerwald

ST. PAULS — Water and sewer customers in St. Pauls could be paying more for both when the town’s budget for the new fiscal year becomes effective July 1.

A fee increase was recommended to town commissioners Thursday by J.R. Steigerwald, the town’s administrator. The commissioners did not act on the proposal that will be included in Steigerwald’s enterprise budget proposal that will be considered along with the town’s general operating budget later this month.

Steigerwald said he is recommending water and sewer rate increases of $1 each per customer each month, which he says would generate about $25,000 a year.

The increase in water rates would be from $13 to $14 for the first 2,000 gallons, and sewer rates would increase from $23 to $24 for the same usage.

According to Steigerwald, the increased rates will help maintain and expand the town’s water and sewer systems into the future.

“We need to increase our rates because our water and sewer systems are not self-supporting,” he said.

St. Pauls has applied for a Clean Water loan and grant from the state Department of Environmental Quality, funds that Steigerwald said will help the town continue to improve and expand its sewer system.

“As the board is painfully aware, improving our sewer system is a top priority,” Steigerwald told the commissioners and mayor in a memorandum dated May 9.

According to Steigerwald, the total amount of Clean Water funds the town hopes to receive is $1.6 million, including a $1 million loan that would be over 20 years at zero percent interest.

In other business, the commissioners on Thursday:

— Gave the town’s Public Works director the authority to move explore cost related to filling in the Veterans Memorial Pool on West Broad Street and to remove the top level of bricks. The veterans memorial will remain in place, but since the local chapter of the VFW is shutting down the pool is being removed because of its high maintenance cost to the town.

“This will also help us at Christmas,” said Mayor Gerard J. Weindel. “We will now be able to set up an anchor for our Christmas tree. It will be a fixed anchor that can be used every year.”

— Accepted the recommendation of the town’s Cemetery Commission to raise the rates for non-St. Pauls residents wanting to be buried in Oakridge Cemetery from $850 to $975 for a single plot. The rate increase will not apply to residents of St. Pauls because their property taxes help subsidize maintenance at the cemetery, according to a memorandum to the commissioners from the Cemetery Commission.

The additional revenue will be used to build a border fence along N.C. 20.

J.R. Steigerwald Steigerwald

By Bob Shiles

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

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