Water, sewer and landfill rates to increase July 1

Published 12:04 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

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WINSTON-SALEM — Following recommendation by an independent rate study, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission has approved increases in water and sewer rates for the next fiscal year budget, which begins July 1.

Local water and sewer rates have historically ranked second lowest amongst peer utilities in the state — the new rates are expected to retain that status.

To equitably generate revenue for operating expenses and debt service coverage, the comprehensive rate study recommended a 7% revenue increase for next fiscal year. These changes will result in a $3.43 increase per month for the average 500 cubic feet customer.

The department’s solid waste division is adjusting the discounted tipping fee at landfills and yard-waste facilities. The charge for large-volume haulers at Hanes Mill Road Landfill will increase one dollar to $34 per ton, and the charge at the two yard-waste facilities will also increase from $33 per ton to $34 per ton. Other than the discounted tipping fee, rates will remain unchanged at both Hanes Mill Road and Old Salisbury Road landfills. It is important to note that no tax revenue is used to fund Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities services. The department is self-sustained by those user fees.

Rate increases will help offset costs for necessary capital improvements as well as increased operational costs due to supply chain pressures and inflation.

“It is our top priority to protect public health and the environment,” said Courtney Driver, the utilities director. “To do that, we must continue to maintain and update critical infrastructure.”

Chris Parker, finance committee chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission, added that inflation is a challenge for the department as it is for everyone.

“Supplies and services are budgeted to increase by more than $3.8 million with 95% of the cost increase due to inflation, especially for chemicals,” Parker said. “Despite the many economic and inflationary challenges, please know that the staff and commission have an ongoing commitment to provide top quality water at affordable rates.”

For more information, contact City Link at citylink@cityofws.org, call 336-727-8000 or use any of the methods on cityofws.org/citylink. Subscribe to Alert Center and News Flash for Utilities at cityofws.org/notifyme.