The rates charged by the Dare County Water Department for water connection and water system development fees will soon increase, following an evaluation conducted by Raftelis Financial Consultants.
The purpose of the evaluation was to examine Dare County’s water connection fee—which is the cost to install a meter in the ground and connect it to the existing supply line—as well as the water system development fee, which is the one-time charge that is assessed to new water and/or sewer customers for their use of the water system’s facilities and their impact on its capacity.
At the conclusion of its evaluation, Raftelis determined that Dare County’s water connection fees and water system development fees were not sufficient to recover the costs of the purchase of the meter and its subsequent installation nor the cost of the connection’s impact on the system’s capacity.
“Currently, a 3/4 inch meter, which is our most common meter that we install, runs about $360 for one meter, and the current connection fee is $340,” said Dare County Public Utility Director William Nash.
According to Nash, the current cost of a 3/4 inch automated meter is $360; however, the additional costs that are incurred to install the meter are considerably higher due to a variety of other required expenses that range from labor to supplementary materials and equipment.
“The connection fee is supposed to cover the piping, the brass, setters, labor, material—whatever is needed to install that meter. So currently [the connection fee of $340] is well below what is needed to even install our lowest-priced meter,” said Nash. “That’s why, based off the 2023 rates that Raftelis presented, we want to move forward with that so we’re not actually in the negative every time we install a new water service for a customer.”
Nash also noted that Dare County’s rates for its water connection fee and system development fees have not increased for the past 12 years. The new fee schedules that were recommended by Raftelis—and which have been approved by the Dare County Board of Commissioners—are as follows.
The rate increase for the water connection fee will go into effect on Tuesday, August 1, 2023. The rate increase for the water system development fee will go into effect on Monday, January 1, 2023; however, it will be phased in incrementally at a rate increase of 12 percent each year for the next three years in an effort to assist water customers with planning ahead for the additional expense.