YORK COUNTY, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Daniel Venosta used to dread seeing a $191 bill just for water and sewer. He says with Blue Granite Water Company — that’s the norm.
“Really just high bills, really, really high bills, we did a little bit of research, and they charge water that’s the most expensive in the country,” Venosta said.
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But he won’t have to worry about them anymore.
After three years of neighbor complaints about the company, York County decided to acquire them for $36 million.
York County has been negotiating with Blue Granite for more than a year while assessing the current system and initiating cost, engineering, and environmental studies.
But Venosta isn’t too happy about the move.
“The first reaction was this is a good thing because that’s what everyone needs to do, then when we started to look into it and seeing that the $36 million is not spread out across everybody – the $36 million is very limited to 4,000 households in Lake Wylie.”
He’s right. Roughly 4,000 Lake Wylie customers will pay for the acquisition.
Greg Suskin, the county’s public information officer, says that only Lake Wylie neighbors use the Blue Granite Water system.
Customers should expect about a $50 surcharge on their monthly bill for about 20 years.
“But it will be evaluated every few years and will likely drop, but we’re even estimating even with the $50 a month surcharge,” Suskin said. “Roughly, the average ratepayers are going to save is about $25 a month, so they’re still seeing savings even with the surcharge simply because some of those charges they paid with Blue Granite will no longer be on their bill.”
The county expects this purchase to provide additional long-term cost savings to water/sewer customers by providing a more stable rate environment.
Venosta feels as though Lake Wylie customers are being ostracized for “a bad deal” the county signed onto in 2018.
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He says other neighbors feel the same.
“Is there savings in the water that we’re charged and the sewer that we charged, and the usage will it make sense,” Venosta said. “There’s a common understanding, a common agreement between everybody is that they don’t see our bill being reduced dramatically.”
According to the press release sent to the media on September 2, this process is expected to take several months.
“During this transition period, the County will work to ensure resources are in place to handle the additional demands for service.”