Petersburg increases water & sewer rates

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Utility rates are going up in Petersburg. For the average household the rate increase will be $3.48 per bill -- that may not sound like a lot but residents and business owners say  the hike will impact their pockets.

Water is constantly flowing at Andrew's Grill.

"For cooking, consumption, automatic dishwasher that we use," said Manager Pete Karousos.

Karousos is surprised to hear about a rate increase. It's a hike that will impact his bottom line.

"It's not good for the overhead," he added.

Residents and business owners in Petersburg can expect to see the increase in their October utility bill.

The city is the majority owner of the wastewater treatment plant and says the increase is needed.

"These costs are due to new incurred cost from our supplier and we're trying to make sure we're breaking even. We don't run it to be a profit center just a service to citizens," said Petersburg Mayor, Brian Moore.

The city approved a 5% increase to the water rate and a 7.25% increase to the sewer rate.

For the average household -- you'll pay about  $3.48  more on your bi-monthly utility bill. For Karousos, who's water use is above average, the hike translates into about $12 more per bill.

Resident Phil Pla already received his bill reflecting the increase.

"It's going to make it  tighter -- yup, a little tighter," said Pla.

The mayor says the utility increase is the first in four years.

"I think we made a good decision and kept it at a nominal level," said Moore.

Back at the restaurant Karousos says he has no choice but to come up with the extra cash.

"Water is important to our business. We need water to operate," said Karousos.

The city says higher fuel charges and the replacement of equipment are also contributing factors for the increase. City leaders are encouraging citizens to keep water rates down through conservation.

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