EDINBURG NEWSLETTER      

May 2019      

87th Edition              

GREETINGS FROM THE MAYOR
AND TOWN COUNCIL

As you think back to the severe weather and crazy storms other parts of the Country had this winter, and in some cases are still having, we in the Valley had it pretty good. It was certainly colder here and the wind was blowing harder than I think any of us cared for, but we didn’t need to do much shoveling. Hopefully any hint of a final frost is behind us now and we will soon be enjoying spring’s colorful reawakening everywhere you look. Spring rains will help get things green again fast and the sound of lawn mowers will soon be a regular occurrence.

The Town Crew has already begun trimming and cutting all over Town and the way that weeds are popping up everywhere, it looks like it could be a busy season. Every year around this time I remind you about the signs around Town instructing dog owners to clean up after their pets; as the signs point out, it is the Law. All of us, especially the Town Crew, are very appreciative of the pet owners that follow this law as we begin another mowing season. Finding a present that your dog has left in the grass with a string-trimmer is never pretty. Please be considerate of others and clean up after your pets.

Warmer weather also turns our thoughts to the Town Park and Pool. The official opening date will be Saturday, May 25th; we are still working out the schedule for the pool season and will have it posted prior to the official opening.

Movie Night at the Park is scheduled again for this year on Saturday June 8th. (Rain date: June 15)

You might remember that we tried this last year and got rained out every weekend. We are hoping for better luck this year, so mark your calendars to come out to watch the 2016 live action version of “The Jungle Book”.

Another event that always draws visitors to the Town Park is the Skyline Street Rods Car Show; It will be held this year on Sunday, June 23rd from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. The Show features a wide array of antique and classic cars along with street rods of all types and sizes. The owners are on hand to talk about their prized possession and are always more than happy to hear your oohs and aahs about the cars. Make sure to attend this fun day at the Town Park. This is a free event.

The day before the Car Show at the Park there will be another type of wheeled vehicle on the move throughout the Town. Saturday, June 22nd there will be 1,300-1,500 “Bike Virginia” bicyclists stopping in at the Edinburg Mill. The Mill is one of the Official Rest Stops for the bike riders from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.  We will be handing out snacks and drinks as well as providing the group with some interesting things to see and do while here in Town. “Bike Virginia” provides all of the snacks and drinks to be handed out by our volunteers. If you are interested in helping, please contact the Town Office, 984-8521, and Michelle will sign you up. We need around 25 people on hand to keep things running smoothly. There will also be space at the Mill for the Ole Time Festival Committee and other organizations to set up to promote themselves. This will be a great chance for Edinburg to put its best foot forward and convince 1,500 folks to come back and visit us again. The Mill will also be receiving $700 for our efforts that will go toward the operation of the facility.

The next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be Thursday June 27th at 7:00 pm. The scheduled speaker will be from the Department of Conservation to talk about Bears in the area and outdoor activities like hunting and fishing in the County.

And while you are marking your calendar, make sure to mark every Tuesday of the month for the Mt. Jackson-Edinburg Rotary at 8:00 am at Denny’s in Mt. Jackson. Every meeting has a different speaker and program, as well as information about the Mt. Jackson-Edinburg Club activities and other Rotary Clubs around the world. www.rotaryinternational.org  Upcoming events include the Club’s 1st Annual Golf Tournament at Bryce Resort on Saturday, May 11th at Bryce Resort with 9am shot gun start.

Every year at this time I tell you about the upcoming Budget for the new fiscal year that will take effect on July 1st. Last year was a tough one when it came to water and wastewater problems. We struggled with water filter issues caused by the heavy rains during the spring and summer. Once we got that under control we started chasing water leaks around town.  This problem carried us right into 2019.

While water problems were occupying most of our time, the wastewater side of the system was always on our minds. We remain under a Consent Order with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to replace our aging wastewater treatment plant. Every month we battle to meet our Permit levels for our testing at the Plant and we have violated a number of times no matter how hard we try not to. I told you of the upcoming Sewer Plant improvements in our February Newsletter. The Engineering is complete on the project and should be in the hands of the DEQ and Rural Development financing folks for review by the time that you are reading this. It has taken much longer than any of us had hoped to get to this stage of the project. Part of the review process will involve looking at our financial situation and our capacity to pay back the loan portion of any new debt service.

In addition to being able to pay back any loans involved with water and sewer we are also faced with the ever increasing cost of providing these services. You might remember reading that we spent over $200,000 in unexpected expenses solving our water issues this past year. The Town currently has around 635 water customers, I say “around” because the number changes with vacancies every month. To pay $200,000 requires us to collect $315 from each of those 635 customers.

A resident in Town paying the minimum monthly bill for water will pay $330 a year at the current rate for water and 403 of our total number of in town customers only pay the minimum each month. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that spending $200,000 in unexpected expenses is really hard for a system our size to absorb. In addition to these expenses we have the annual fixed expenses of: Debt Service-$70,554, Utilities-$24,200, Licensed Operators-$53,669, Permits/Testing/Contract Repairs-$12,310, Insurance-$3,150, Wages and Benefits-$40,159, Supplies/Services/Equipment Costs- $28,000; and these are all fixed costs that we can maybe cut a little here and there, but for the most part they are what they are. I could give you a similar break down for the wastewater side of the operation and it is going to be impacted even more as we look at additional debt service in the near future. It just plain costs a great amount of money to provide water and sewer service, and I’m betting you know what this is leading up to. We know that nobody likes increases in fees; but sometimes they are unavoidable as we continue to meet the challenge of new regulations.

The Town Council will be holding a Public Hearing on Tuesday, May 14th at 7 pm to present the proposed Budget for 2019-2020, and it does include increases for Water and Sewer. Before I get into the new rates I want to tell you about two other changes that are being proposed.

The monthly charge for in town trash pickup will increase by $0.50 per month. This will result in a fee of $10.25 and is needed to cover an increase in the fees charged by the Contractor providing this service. Apartment monthly fees will remain the same since that fee is in place for recycling.

An increase of 1% in the Town’s Meals Tax is being proposed that should bring in around $14,000. A 6% Meals Tax will put us in line with the other towns. While it will impact all of us that enjoy the great restaurants we have here in Edinburg, it is also a tax that is paid by many nonresidents visiting the area. We are very limited in ways to increase revenues other that Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes, both of which will only impact Town residents.

We looked at a variety of options for how to handle the ever increasing costs of providing water and sewer. One of the first things discussed was lowering our minimum gallons from the current level of 3,000 gallons; the other towns use 1,700, 2,000 and 2,500 gallons for their minimums. It quickly became apparent that a lower minimum would not solve anything; actually we lost revenue at our current rates.

We then looked at a number of rate increases, keeping in mind that we need to show that our system has the financial capacity to take on additional debt to fund our required improvements. Rising costs for water require some increase on the water side; however, the sewer side is going to require even more of an increase as we prepare to take on the upgrades at the wastewater Treatment Plant.

The following increases are proposed based on a 3,000 gallon minimum usage.

Water in Town 3,000 gallons increased by $1 to $28.50 
Out of Town increased to $43.25

Sewer in Town minimum increased by $4.00 to $35.00 
Out of Town increased to $52.50

Minimum monthly bill proposed at $63.50 
Out of Town Minimum $95.25

The following rates are being proposed per 1,000 gallons of water and sewer for those of you that use over the minimum 3,000 gallons.

Water:

The next 7,000 gallons in Town at $7.00 per 1,000 gallons 
Out of Town at $10.50 per 1,000 gallons

The next 10,000 gallons in Town at $6.50 per 1,000 gallons 
Out of Town at $9.75 per 1,000 gallons

The next 10,000 plus in Town at $6.00 per 1,000 gallons 
Out of Town at $9.03 per 1,000 gallons

Sewer:

The next 7,000 gallons in Town at $11.00 per 1,000 gallons 
Out of Town at $16.50 per 1,000 gallons

The next 10,000 gallons in Town at $7.50 per 1,000 gallons 
Out of Town at $11.25 per 1,000 gallons

The next 10,000 plus in Town at $6.00 per 1,000 gallons 
Out of Town at $9.03 per 1,000 gallons

The sliding scale for 1,000 gallons over the minimum was used to lessen the impact on our larger commercial water users that have no choice but to use water and sewer in the operation of the business. We also have a number of residential customers that are using great quantities of water every month that will be impacted by the rate for the first 7,000 gallons over the minimum.  However they probably can decrease their usage and this might be the incentive needed to cause them to do so.

That’s it for now; have a great spring! Your Mayor, Dan Harshman