MUB’s FY 2025 budget includes rate increases as ‘inflationary adjustments’

MORGANTOWN — The fiscal year 2025 budgets recently passed by the Morgantown Utility Board include 3% rate increases for the utility’s water, sewer and stormwater customers. 

This is the second of three “inflationary adjustments” approved by Morgantown City Council in 2021 along with larger increases implemented that year. 

At the time it was explained small, regular adjustments were preferable to far larger but less frequent rate hikes. 

MUB’s FY 2026 budget will also include a 3% increase. 

The increase will take effect following the July 1 start of the new fiscal year. 

“Those have been a big help in dealing with these increases we’re seeing, especially in power and chemicals, because they don’t just go by inflationary numbers. Some of these are double digits that we’re seeing,” MUB General Manager Mike McNulty said.  

The rate increases do not include MUB’s Cheat Lake sewer customers, but rate increases are coming for them as well. 

“We’re in the middle of the design work right now for the Cheat Lake sewer treatment plant upgrade and a couple of the lift stations. Once we complete that design and we have our financing package ready to go, there will have to be a rate increase and we’ll have to go to city council,” McNulty said. 

MUB’s FY 2025 utility budgets, which are kept separate, anticipate revenues of $16,929,926.99 (water); $18,133,898.83 (sewer); $2,378,313.65 (stormwater); and $1,791,070.90 (Cheat Lake).

In other MUB news, Reclaim Company LLC was awarded a contract for $179,680.06 for the site demolition and environmental clearance of the former Dinsmore Tire location, at 195 Don Knotts Blvd. 

This is the second round of bidding for this project. MUB initially awarded the same job to Parotta Paving for $291,000 in April before aborting that process when it was pointed out the percentage of the contract allocated to mobilization and demobilization did not meet MUB’s specifications. 

The work will include the demolition of all structures on the 1.26-acre property and the placement of a 12-inch gravel cap, which will serve as a barrier between the surface and potential contaminants in the soil beneath.  

The property is considered a brownfield, meaning it’s complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.  

MUB was provided a $500,000 grant from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the site, which sits next to the utility’s water treatment facility. 

Lastly, the board approved the operations and maintenance agreement that will allow MUB to essentially take over Westover’s sanitary sewer system until the system fully becomes a MUB asset. 

Final acquisition is expected to occur once the city’s forthcoming Holland Avenue project is complete or very-near completion. That’s anticipated to be either late this year or early 2025. 

Westover City Council approved the O&M agreement on May 20. The two parties will now jointly ask for the West Virginia Public Service Commission’s approval. 

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