- Published on Thursday, 19 July 2012 17:29
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Town Manager Val Foulds handed out copies of ordinances that offer water and sewer discounts as well as real estate tax exemptions to citizens over 65 as well as citizens deemed permanently and totally disabled.
Town Council held a public hearing and passed ordinance 629 to raise water fees by $10 a month. The raise is necessary to seek funding for two major water and sewer infrastructural capital improvement projects.
The first project is a mandated upgrade planned on the numbered streets which has been estimated at approximately four million dollars.
The funding for that upgrade is being provided by Rural Development, a division of USDA. An additional two million dollar loan is expected, to complete this portion of the upgrade by the end of fiscal year 2013.
In order to receive funding from other sources the town must show that the utility fund can not only sustain itself on fees collected but can show an increase in revenue that will pay for loans awarded.
In response to several citizen complaints that the elderly on fixed incomes will be hit hardest by the rate increase, Foulds is trying to raise awareness of exemptions available to senior and disabled citizens.
In order to qualify for this discount a citizen must either be 65 or permanently and totally disabled, must be a full time resident of Colonial Beach, must own and reside in the house for which the discount is applied, have a gross income of less than or equal to $17,500 for individuals or $25,000 per household for married couples, the combined value of the applicant’s assets including vehicle, real estate bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. of less than $100,000 excluding the applicants residence for which they are seeking a discount.
Note: The home applied for and property it sits on is exempt from these asset limits, providing the land does not exceed one acre.
Anyone who resides in a hospital, nursing home, convalescent home or other facility for physical or mental care for extended periods of time may still qualify if the real estate is not used by, or leased to others for consideration.
Foulds plans to recommend that the Public Works/Water and Sewer Committee review the option of changing the thresholds in the current ordinance so that more individuals will qualify. Foulds said in an email to the Journal, “My goal is to present some ideas or options to the town council that will help the struggling utility fund while balancing the needs of many of our seniors and disabled citizens.”
To obtain an application or anyone with questions are urged to call town hall at (804) 224-7181 or stop by town hall.
Tap fees lowered
Monroe Point Developers were surprisingly subdued when Council voted unanimously to lower tap fees. What should have been a big victory has been minimized by the real estate slump in the last few years.
Mike Dzaman and Jon Natelson, builders of Monroe Point Development, have been trying for years to convince Colonial Beach Town Council that raising water and sewer connection fees (tap fees) would have a negative financial impact on the town and in fact new construction and hook ups have dropped drastically in the town since the tap fees rose in 2009.
In an effort to help jump start new construction by reducing the burden of high tap fees, the town council has lowered water tap fees from $4,500 to $2,250 as well as lowering sewer tap fees from $7,500 to $3,750.
Together water and sewer tap fees have lowered from $12,000 to $6,000 for customers inside the corporate limits.
Dzaman and Natelson were pleased at the decision but had no other comment.
Drought Watch still in effect
Due to recent weather conditions and high usage of water the town manager has declared a Drought Watch and is requesting all residents voluntarily reduce non-essential water use.
Non-essential water use includes, but is not limited to, washing automobiles, watering of shrubbery, trees and lawns, or water to fill or refill swimming pools.
This Drought Watch will remain in effect until further notice.