HAZARD — Those in the area who use Hazard city water will be seeing a slight increase in their bill next month after the Hazard City Commission voted to approve a water rate increase for their customers at their monthly meeting Monday night.
Hazard’s water rate is the second lowest in the area for inside and outside municipal rates, at $8.87 and $12.79 respectively. The increase, of 50 cents more per 1,000 gallons used, would add one dollar to the current rates, bringing them to $9.87 and $13.79, and keeping them as the second lowest.
City Manager Carlos Combs said the rate increase was due to a $2.2 million loan taken out by the city to pay for much needed improvements to the city’s water system. The city received a low interest rate on the loan because of the time it was taken out, and will have 40 years to pay it off. Combs said there had to be an increase somewhere in order to begin paying that off.
“We don’t want to have to raise rates,” Combs said. “But 59 percent of people (in the service area) will be affected by $2 at most per month.”
Combs said the biggest effect the increase will have is on the water bill for the Hazard Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospital, adding about $475 to their monthly bill.