WORTHINGTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – In a Worthington Town Council meeting on August 16, officials announced that they will be increasing the water rate.

Worthington Town Council previously voted to move forward in obtaining funding for a water system upgrade, so the town must now increase its water rates.

At the meeting, town attorney, Jeff Van Volkenburg stated that there are two different steps that must be taken before the bill can be raised. For starters, the city council must have two public readings before the rate increase will go into effect. Citizens will have 45 days after the second reading to prepare for the increase on their bills.

The readings have to be a week apart, and five days prior to the second reading, the news must be published in the newspaper in a specific format by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Water service rates ordinance (Courtesy: Renee Courtney)

Rate changes need to be included on the water bill the month before it will go into effect. Van Volkenburg brought copies of the increase ordinance to the meeting, and informed the council that they will need to have copies for the community members to view at the public readings.

Renee Courtney, an avid attendee, is concerned that citizens have not been properly informed, and is worried that community members will react when it is too late. She said she is concerned “because they don’t give their agendas to the media, to publish, they just post it on the door, and that’s as far as they go. A lot of people pay their bills online or they don’t go to town hall. The communities are older, low-income communities, and they need to be given every opportunity to have their voices heard.”

At the meeting, sewer increase rates were also mentioned. Courtney provided a video of the meeting online for community members to watch. In the video, it was said that the topic was voted to move forward in January, but Courtney also provided a clip from the January meeting where they tabled the topic and allegedly never revisited it. Courtney wrote on a black screen in her video that the topic was an attempt to create an ordinance to charge individuals with vacant properties a sewer fee in addition to the water bill.

Worthington’s new mayor, Melvin Lindsey, mentioned that he is waiting to hear from the town attorney to decide when the public readings will take place. We will release updates as we receive them.