(KFSK file photo)

Like a number of other borough services, it looks like the cost of water and sewer service in Petersburg will be going up this year.

Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday approved the first reading of ordinances for three percent hikes, each year for the next four years. And that’s for both water and sewer service.

On a radio call-in show Monday, assembly member Dave Kensinger said the borough charges rates comparable with other communities and was supportive an increase.

“So we’re right in the middle of the pack of everybody in Southeast,” Kensinger said. “We’re not the highest. We’re not the lowest. It was delayed of COVID. They did not want to put a lot of these increases in when that was going on. Yeah we really don’t have any choice.”

The vote was 6-0 to approve the first reading of those ordinances with assembly member Bob Lynn not at the meeting.  In the past year the assembly has also voted to boost the cost for customers using garbage and recycling service, electricity and the harbors. For the most part, those borough departments are designed to sustain themselves on payments from customers and are not supported by taxes.

The proposed ordinance for the waste water department would also put in local law existing fees for pumping septic tanks or porta-potties, ships and inspection of blocked sewage systems.

The water and waste water and garbage utilities also had annual rate hikes for six years starting in 2012. In 2019, a consultant hired by the borough recommended further increases to cover costs in those departments. Some of the revenue will go to repay loans for projects to repair or upgrade infrastructure. In 2019, local voters approved borrowing for up to eight million dollars for new water lines and sewer pump stations. Much of that work has been on hold during the pandemic.