UPDATE – APRIL 26, 2022, 10:18 p.m. BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Beckley City council members passed proposed water and sewage rate increases for the city. The passed ordinances will raise the price of stormwater services in Beckley by $3.66 for all city residents.

Similarly, a price hike of approximately $12.40 per month will apply to the city’s sewage services.

ORIGINAL – APRIL 26, 2022, 8:07 p.m. BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Citizens in Beckley are unhappy about a proposed sewer and stormwater rate increase, which would have them pay approximately $200 more per year on their utility bills.

The price hike proposed by the Beckley Sanitary Board would raise the price of stormwater services in Beckley by $3.66 for all city residents.

Similarly, a price hike of approximately $12.40 per month for the average customer was proposed for the city’s sewage services.

It may not seem like much, but over the course of a year, that additional sixteen dollars a month would have the average Beckley resident pay approximately $200 more for sewage and stormwater services every year.

The Beckley Sanitary Board said upgrades to the sewage and stormwater systems are necessary to meet federal standards and to keep Beckley’s water clean.

“This program came in response to the Clean Water Act down from the federal government, from the Environmental Protection Agency, in an effort to organize a way to deal with stormwater runoff, urban runoff, and the pollution that urban runoff can pick up and bring into our receiving streams,” said Luke Stevens, a spokesperson for the Beckley Sanitary Board.

The sewer rate in Beckley was last increased back in 2015, while the stormwater rate has stayed the same since 2007.

Stevens said the price hike for citizens is necessary because just like inflation has hit most consumers, their operating costs and the price of conducting these projects went up as well.

“A lot of what we’re dealing with is the rising, escalating costs of operation. Keeping up with inflation,” said Stevens. “And then the other part of the increase is just positioning us well to continue to identify and study and complete projects like this one, that upgrade infrastructure.”

However, there are still issues with the proposed rate hike yet to be addressed. Many Beckley citizens wonder whether money from the federal infrastructure bill should cover the needed upgrades, or if the price hike affects homes outside of the Beckley watershed.