The future for operators of water and sewer services in Silver Springs may be uncertain, but one thing is for sure - the cost of sewer services will be going up Oct. 1.
The Silver Springs General Improvement District board voted to increase the rate from $12.28 to $20 per month.
The increased revenue will go to pay operating expenses of $289,000, according to GID board Chairwoman Robin Harina.
The GID's expenses include three full-time employees, an independent contractor, a part-time employee, services and supplies.
Harina said the GID will not save money for upcoming capital improvements.
She estimated that putting the funds aside for capital improvements would cost $235,000, and require an additional rate increase of $17 per month for the system's 1,100 customers.
"It's my position that those poor 1,100 people are paying for the plant, so why should they have to pay for the next plant," she said.
Harina added that, because of the presence of nitrate in groundwater, some septic tanks were failing, and the only way to prevent homes from being condemned was to build a sewer system, something that was put together by the Lyon County Board of Commissioners.
Funds that are left over at the end of the fiscal year can be put toward improvements, Harina said.
A proposed merger with the Silver Springs Mutual Water Co. could save some money for area residents, Harina said, but is still not likely to happen soon.
"I believe there is a cost savings in a merger of the two utilities, but I don't believe we'll save so much money that the rates aren't going to go up," she said. "You're still going to have operating costs."
However, water company manager Don Allen said he believed the merger will happen, though he couldn't say when.
When the merger finally takes place, the water company will dissolve and the GID would have to expand its services, Allen said, because it is the government entity.
Harina said another process that could accomplish a merger is for the GID to expand its service to include water and absorb the water company, but so far that route has not been pursued.
n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.