PAGELAND, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – “This letter is to notify you of a rate increase for the town of Pageland,” said Shane Sligh, Town Administrator.

The town’s only water source, Chesterfield County Rural Water Company, notified the town of an increase.

It’s gone from $2.50 to $4.60 per 1,000 gallons of water, an 84 percent increase, but after crunching the numbers, there may be only a 39 percent increase.

Sligh presented two options to the council.

Option A

Significantly raise the rates.

Option B

Only raise them slightly for customers and businesses while keeping enough money in the town’s water account.

On the first reading of the ordinance, the council voted for Option B.

“For this one here, in town that uses 6,000 gallons, which is pretty high, my household of three, I use about 3-3.5 gallons, the current bill would be $37.93 based on what our ordinance is, based on Option B it’d go up to $52.75,” Sligh explained.

And for a business using about 31,000 gallons, Option B would increase from $141 to $196.

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Pageland Mayor Jason Evans says the town was notified a week ago about an increase, and while he wishes they would’ve had more time to discuss more options, they’re doing their best.

“This is only the first reading, and the rates may change; there may be some better rates that we can provide to our customers between now and our next council meeting,” Evans said. “So, we’ll continue to analyze the data; we want to have as minimal impact to the customers as possible.”

Ethan Ford says it’s concerning that rates could change at such an enormous percentage.

“When you avoid raising rates a small percentage to keep up with the way things are going, then this is a situation when you get hit with a large rate increase that’s unavoidable, but if it was raised a little bit along, it wouldn’t hurt as bad as it does right now,” Ford said.

“I think the town council has no choice in making the decisions that they’re making,” Ford said. “They’re being held hostage from having to buy from a certain entity, and whatever they charge, the town has to charge that same amount and sustain it to be able to provide a service, so the town isn’t making money off this; it’s just something that has to be done, it’s just sad that all this has to happen at one time.”

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Mayor Evans says they will continue to analyze the data because they want to have as minimal impact on the customers as possible. They’ll vote again at the next council meeting.

The price hike will take place on Oct. 1, 2022. It won’t touch water bills until Oct. 31, 2022.