by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
HARRISBURG, N.C. - Nearly 100 families in the Huntwick neighborhood in Harrisburg will soon see their sewer bills decrease.
The town of Harrisburg is in the process of buying the sewer system from Utilities Inc.
Residents like Beth Rosza have wanted it to happen for nearly two decades.
"The service has been fine, it's just the high utilities we've been paying regardless of the usage," she said.
Her community was annexed into Harrisburg in the late 90's. The town has provided water and sewer service for much of that time, except for 88 homes connected to the Utilities Inc. system.
Harrisburg charges customers by usage and bills average $25-$30 a month.
Utilities Inc. charges a flat rate of $56, up from $44 dollars after a rate increase in April.
Town administrator Mike Rose said, "This biggest complaint across the board was the difference between what they as residents were paying for sewer compared to what other residents were."
After years of discussing the idea, the town is moving forward to buy the system from Utilities Inc. for $425,000. Rose said the town had been saving up for the purchase for the last two years and the money will come from the capital fund. Rose said the town inspected system and overall it is in good condition and residents have not had major service issues over the years.
In addition to residents seeing their bills cut in the future, until the deal is final, they will also be reimbursed the difference between their current bill and what they will be charged once the town takes over.
"We were at the Town Council meeting Monday and that's what they said they were going to do, so we would be very grateful," Rosza said.
"They are certainly relieved and happy to see this finally moving forward,” Rose said.
The town expects to refund the new sewer customers around $12,000 to $15,000 over the next few months. The money will come from the operating fund.
Rose said this all comes at no cost to taxpayers and there will not be any rate increases.
Utilities Inc. is the same company that operates the troubled sewer system in Tega Cay, South Carolina.
For years resident there have dealt with rate increases and sewage overflows into Lake Wylie.
The city of Tega Cay recently moved to cut ties with Utilities Inc. and agreed to take over the troubled system at the cost of $6 million.