City: Water rate hike looks inevitable

By John Hamilton -

WILMINGTON — “I’d rather have a root canal with novocaine than raise rates on our citizens. But we don’t have a choice,” said Mayor John Stanforth during Thursday night’s City Council meeting.

Council held the first reading to amend Chapter 929 of the City’s Codified Ordinances “in order to provide for an increase in water rates” to combat any present or future issues with the city’s water system, focusing primarily on maintenance.

Councilmember and Water Committee Chair Kelsey Swindler said that the recent harmful algae bloom “uncovered a lot of emerging issues. She added that Water Superintendent Rick Schaeffer didn’t “sugar coat” what needs to be done.

Swindler informed council and attendees what they would face if the increase is not passed according to findings from Schaeffer and Deputy Auditor Mary Kay Vance. Swindler said it would mean the city would miss its debt-service coverage by about $10,000.

“Obviously this is unsustainable, so what he’s suggested is the proposed rate increase for 2018, 2019, 2020 and then 2021,” said Swindler.

Swindler said she would like to hold a public forum in case any citizen has questions or concerns about this at the next council meeting in December.

By John Hamilton