Manassas Park City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to revise the rates the city charges for sewer and water, increasing the base rate by about $30 to $52 a month for each residential and commercial customer.
Councilman Preston Banks was the only one to oppose the amendment to the ordinance, casting his “nay” vote before Mayor Frank Jones could even ask for it.
Banks said he interjected because he just wanted to make sure he voted.
He voted against the ordinance because he thinks there may be other answers to the city’s water and sewer problems, Banks said on Tuesday.
“I think there’s other solutions we could explore, such as state grants for our improvements to the system and a regional water solution of joining with Prince William County or even Fairfax County,” Banks said after the meeting.
The governing body held several public hearings on the matter and feels that the new water and sewer rate is in the best interest of the city and its residents, according to city documents.
During those public hearings, many residents asked questions and some expressed ire over the idea of their water and sewer bills increasing.
The city will apply the new rate on the next billing cycle.
The money from the new base fee will be used to make repairs to the water and sewer infrastructure and pay the debt the city incurred when it borrowed money to buy water rights from the City of Manassas and the Service Authority of Prince William County.
Manassas Park doesn’t produce its own water, but buys it from Manassas and Prince William County, which buys the water from Fairfax County.
The money will also be used to pay the debts belonging to the Upper Occoquan Service Authority (UOSA), the entity that handles the city’s sewer.
Manassas Park owns a little more than 5 percent of UOSA. The rest is owned by Manassas, Prince William and Fairfax Counties.
Manassas Park has to pay UOSA some $1.5 million this year for its bonds, Manassas Park City Manager James "Jim" Zumwalt said in an earlier report.
That amount will increase by $100,000 every year until it reaches a plateau, he said.