Proposal would raise water & sewer rates in Henrico

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – No new taxes in the next budget, but people in Henrico County should be prepared to pay more for water.

Underneath all the lovely lawns and gardens is vast network of aging pipes. Down economy or not, they need expensive repairs...and the public has to pay. So Henrico's Department of Public Utilities proposes raising water and sewer rates, by 5 percent.

We broke the news to Brol Broglio in the middle of a walk with his dogs.

"It's a killer for us. It's a double whammy," he said.

Brol's thinking about his pool, and his grass, not to mention all the other reasons people need water.

"You know, in this economy, 5 or 10 percent of anything is enormous," he said.

In Henrico, homes are billed every two months and it breaks down like this: The average family of four would pay $6 more on each bill. A family of two would pay $3 more. And a single person would pay an additional $1.50.

The director of public utilities says he's seen proof that the extra money, is needed now.

"We actually have gone into the sewer system put a TV camera in, taken pictures," said Arthur Petrini, Director of Public Utilities. "We have found that we have severe breaks, cracks, and ground water entering the sewer pipes. And ground water should not enter the sewer pipes."

Work would be done over the course of several years -- in an effort to avoid a big disaster.

"A road could cave in, because a sewer pipe has caved in and the road caved in on top of it and you would literally have a hole in the road," Petrini said.

But that's hardly a comfort right now, to at least one neighbor, who's thinking about where he'll find the money.

"What we would do to pay for an increase is take more money out of our retirement fund, and pay the government 25 percent for the privilege of doing it," Broglio said.

As of right now, the director of public utilities approves of the rate increase, as does the county manager,  but the public will get a chance to weigh in on the proposal at a public hearing on May 11.

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