Commissioners approve new utility rates, sign agreement with Stanfield

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners recently reached a consensus on an item related to the proposed budget for the upcoming 2021-22 fiscal year as well as signed a new contract with Stanfield.

County Manager Andy Lucas and Utilities Director Duane Wingo presented the new utilities rates to commissioners for their perusal.

Lucas said the new budget includes a 3 percent increase in water and sewer rates. The rate for water for under 2,000 gallons is proposed to increase from $24.91 to $25.66. For more than 2,000 gallons, the rate will go up from $12.76 to $13.14 per 1,000 gallons with the per-gallon rate going up three percent.

Wingo said the budget was “lean and mean” in terms of capital improvements. The county is looking to get a “mini-service truck,” which he added will help crews respond faster to leaks and main breaks.

The utilities director added the other big capital project was to install a sewer meter on N.C. Highway 205. The reason, he added, was to “more accurately measure the flows which come from the Red Cross area, which is our sewer.” The sewer then goes into Oakboro, Wingo said.

Wingo said some work needs to be done in Badin but added the sales of water in Badin “are not as robust as some of the other areas.”

Lucas said part of the expected $12 million the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan, about $4 million, is being recommended to commissioners to spend on water line projects.

The West Stanly Wastewater Treatment Plant could get $2.5 million for its expansion, the county manager added.

Other money from the ARP will be reserved for technology upgrades, Lucas said.

Board Chairman Bill Lawhon noted the county is absorbing part of the cost of what the county buys from Albemarle in water. In the new budget, Albemarle will raise rates by 4 percent.

“We’re not passing (the cost) along to the consumers,” Lawhon said.

Along with the new rates, commissioners also approved a new water agreement with the town of Stanfield. The five-year contract includes rate increases which Lucas said will help the county “capture back some of what we’ve lost over the last 20 years selling water to Stanfield.”

Lucas said the Stanfield Town Council has signed the agreement.