John Slusser, Warsaw town manager
Warsaw officials are expecting an increase in water and sewer rates for the town.
On Wednesday, Feb. 6 the Finance Committee held its midyear review of Warsaw’s budget as of Dec. 31, 2012 to determine whether it needed adjustments or additional funding.
Town Manager John Slusser drew attention to a shortage of $60,717 in the general fund after the money was transferred to water and sewer.
Slusser and the committee were not surprised by deficiencies in the budget.
“Our prediction that we were going to fall short has come true,” said Slusser. “We were on target with our budget when we said we’d need extra money and we’re about right where we thought we’d be.”
Slusser said that diminished income has contributed to the budget coming up short.
“We have about the cheapest water in the state right now in terms of our [residential] rates,” said Slusser, who added that the rates have not contributed to a loss of revenue.
“Our problem is… a loss of volume in the system,” said Slusser.
He noted that losses were due in part to the Northern Neck Region Jail reducing its volume and Warsaw Healthcare closing.
Other businesses in Warsaw that closed within the last two months, thereby reducing water volumes, included Granny’s Attic and Sue’s Bar and Grill on Main Street.
“The council anticipated this and…I think it’s fair to say that water and sewer rates will probably rise,” said Slusser. “We’re trying to determine now to what degree that will happen.”
Wayne Williams, Chairman of the Finance Committee, questioned when his committee should recommend a rate increase to council in order to make arrangements for a public hearing.
Slusser replied that council has already taken steps toward adjusting the rates by asking consulting company Draper Aden Associates to review their situation.
“Once we get the Drapen Aden report, which will be presented publicly, then I think council will be in a situation to determine which way they want to go with it and issue public hearings,” said Slusser.
Aside from the expected deficits, the town manager said the budget is proceeding “as planned.”
In related news, the finance committee unanimously endorsed the acceptance of a bank note from People’s Community Bank for $350,000. The Town of Warsaw will use the loan proceeds to finance the drilling of a deep well within town limits.
People’s was one of three banks that the finance committee considered recommending to town council.
Slusser recommended People’s as “Bank A” to the committee due to the bank’s proposed interest rate of .5 percent.
The other banks considered were The Bank of Lancaster and Union First Market Bank. Both banks expressed their commitment with an interest rate that was at least 1.3 percent higher than the figure offered by People’s Bank.