WILLIAMSTOWN - City council unanimously passed the second and final reading of a 15 percent sewer rate increase Tuesday.
The increase will take effect on Dec. 1, and is expected to produce approximately $73,172 annually through the 15 percent raise to all 1,435 customers on the city sewer.
The monthly sewer bill will increase by $5.13 for residential, $72.80 for commercial, $50.35 for industrial and $42.72 for government customers.
No community members attended the public hearing to oppose the rate increase.
The estimated $73,172 annually collected through the increase will go toward maintenance and an upcoming project to replace sewer lines along the west end of the city along West Virginia 14 to Poplar Avenue, including underneath CSX railroad tracks, said Councilman Ron Erb during the Sept. 4 council meeting.
Erb moved to approve the increase to get the project started.
Mayor Jean Ford said the project is expected to remove tree roots from the sewer lines near and under the tracks as well as replace the old clay pipe with modern plastic.
"The sewer line in question has been a problem for years," Ford said.
It is expected to cost the city more than $300,000, which includes fees and permits from CSX.
The city must raise sewer rates to fund the project because the Public Service Commission of West Virginia has told Williamstown officials they do not charge enough in water and sewer rates to apply for grants or bonds to fund their projects, officials said.
This is the second such increase for the city this year.
In early July, council passed a 15 percent water rate increase that became effective on Sept. 1.