Jimmy Junkin, Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission executive director, hosted the second of two town hall meetings to inform the public of the details of the utility’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget and rate increase.
A number of issues, the greatest of which is years of neglecting the county’s sewer system by previous commissions, have made it necessary to raise the rates if they want to get the system back under control in a timely manner, Junkin said.
Junkin pointed to issues with groundwater infiltration and rainwater inflow into the sewer system pipes and manholes. He said a good rainfall can increase the flow by 200 to 300 percent in some areas of the county.
Those that use the average amount of water per month, around 4,000 gallons a month, will not see a major increase. According to JWSC estimates, the average bill will rise by about seven dollars. Tap-in fees for the water and sewer systems will nearly double, rising from $3,550 per Residential Equivalence Unit (REU), a unit of measurement that equals about the average monthly water usage of a single-family residence, to $6,800.
Affordability is a major factor when looking at the rates, Junkin said. The utility is making sure to stay conscious of the city of Brunswick and Glynn County’s affordability number as calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the utility commission chairman Donald Elliot, the EPA considers 4.6 percent of a household’s total income to be the most a water and sewer company should charge. In Brunswick, that would be about $100 for a person making the city’s median income. For the rest of the county, it would be around $176.
Based on the current median incomes for both, the average water and sewer bill will be around $56 for the city and $60 for the county after the rate increase takes effect. Should the commission approve the budget later this month, the rate increase will be imposed in July.
The commission will meet to discuss and take a vote on the budget during a special-called meeting, currently scheduled for 2 p.m. June 29 in the utility’s offices at 1703 Gloucester St. in Brunswick.