Fee hikes get final OK from City Council

You won’t see them on your bills until October, but Darlington City Council Monday night gave final approval to a set of fee increases that will cost the typical household about $216 more per year.

Meeting in person June 29 at City Hall for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut things down in March, the council quickly gave final approval to the city’s $11.5 million budget for the next fiscal year, which started July 1.

Included in the budget are a series of fee increases that council has been debating in video meetings for months – increases no one on council was eager to approve because of the economic hits the area has taken from COVID-19.

The increases will:

— Raise city water/sewer rates by $9.55 a month for residential and commercial users. That’s a 40 percent increase for water and a 60 percent increase for sewer, but council members have argued that the city’s rates for those services have been significantly lower than other local towns’ — and that the city’s water-sewer system won’t be able to keep going without the fee hike.

— Raise sanitation rates by $6 per month for households and businesses. That takes them from $22.50 a month to $28.50, a 28 percent increase.

— Raise stormwater rates by $2.50 a month for residential customers and $3.50 a month for businesses.

The increases take effect in August, but city officials said they should not start appearing on residents’ bills until October.

Please see the 7/8/20 issue of the News & Press for more details.

Author: Rachel Howell

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