Keyser mayor, council: City residents should be upset over water rates
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER- Several City of Keyser officials are upset over the current rates the city charges New Creek water and sewer customers and say that the citizens of Keyser should be upset as well.
The New Creek Water Association purchases water from Keyser and also pumps its sewage back to Keyser, where it is processed by the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Mayor Damon Tillman and council member Jim Hannas both said during the Oct. 14 Keyser City Council meeting that New Creek customers are getting the same services as Keyser customers, but are paying less.
According to Hannas, Keyser water customers are paying $9.02 per thousand gallons, while New Creek customers are only paying $3.27 per thousand.
“They should be paying just as much as Keyser,” Tillman said. “The citizens of Keyser ought to be upset that this has been going on for years,” he added.
On the sewer side of things, Keyser customers pay $12.16 per thousand gallons, while customers of the New Creek Public Service District pay $3.27 per thousand.
Hannas commented that Keyser also treats sewer from McCoole, and they pay only $4.69 per thousand gallons.
Tillman said he feels before the city considers a rate increase to help pay off the recently constructed wastewater treatment plant on Waxler Road, the city should raise the rates being paid by New Creek and McCoole.
“It’s not right. You’re being treated unfairly,” he told the audience at the Oct. 14 meeting, noting that it is the elected officials’ responsibility to protect the interests of the city residents.
Tillman said he and Hannas have been meeting with representatives of Steptoe and Johnson to discuss the city’s options.
“What we’re asking for is not a tremendous amount, but it will help us,” he said.
Tillman also went on to reiterate a statement he has made on numerous occasions that the previous city administration built a much larger treatment plant than was necessary, and he feels the resale water rates and sewer rates charged to New Creek should be the first step “to pay for this Taj Mahal treatment plant.”
“To be honest,” he continued, “we’ll probably still have to do like a 1 percent increase. … but that’s probably coming down the road at some point.”