The Prince George's County Council this week approved a 22 percent water rate increase for customers of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, effective July 1.
By a vote of 8-0 with one abstention, the council went along with the Montgomery County Council in approving the water rate increase along with an 8.5 percent increase in sewer usage charges.
WSSC had initially asked for a 22.8 percent water rate increase but the two councils decided jointly to recommend 22 percent. Since the WSSC has been using a progressive rate system since January (charging those who use more water at a higher rate per gallon), it will be up to commission to decide how it wants to distribute the increase. A spokesman for the WSSC said yesterday that the commission had not yet decided how to distribute the increases.
The council has stipulated only that rates be increased by an average of 22 percent.
In othe r words, some consumers could see their rates go up more than 22 per cent, while others go up less than 22 percent.
During the first six months of 1978 the minimum charge was 36 cents per 1,000 gallons of water consumed, the maximum $1.05 per 1,000 gallons consumed. The current sewer rates range from 45 cents to $1.31 per 1,000 gallons consumed.
In April the commission did a survey on water usage patterns with the intention of charging heavier users a larger rate increase.
Now, however, it is planning a work session to study a number of options, including an across-the-board 22 percent increase for all consumers. A decision will be made by the commission on either June 14 or 21.
According to WSSC figures the average single family home uses about 2,000 gallons of water per month. Before the progessive rate charges, all water users were charged 70 cents per 1,000 gallons.
In approving the increases after less than 10 minutes of discussion, a number of council members said they were approving the budget, "reluctantly." All nine members present, however, approved the budget, with the exception of Samuel W. Bogley, who abstained on all motions made during the morning session.
The WSSC will have a $10 million deficit at the end of fiscal 1978, and the council recommended that $2.8 million of that deficit be paid off with revenues accrued during fiscal 1979.
Last year the council recommended that $4 million of that deficit be paid off. But the commission ended up going about $4 million over its approved budget and as a result did not put a dent in the deficit.
To avoid a repetition of that problem, both county councils [WORD ILLEGIBLE] that the commission will be [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to receive approval from both the Montgomery and Prince George's Councils before exceeding its budget in any way.