Rock Hill residents may pay more for water, sewer. The reason why may be critical

Rock Hill residents could pay more for water and sewer as the city considers making $300 million worth of system upgrades.

The Rock Hill City Council is reviewing a proposed 2017-2018 budget that doesn’t include an increase in the tax rate, but does detail fee increases to complete an estimated $300 million in upgrades to Rock Hill’s water and wastewater plants, which regulate, clean and distribute water throughout York County.

That means Rock Hill residents could face a water rate increase of 9.11 percent ($1.70 for an average residential customer) and sewer rate hike of 2.99 percent ($1.20 for an average customer) in their bills in the coming fiscal year, according to the staff proposal.

Deputy City Manager Jimmy Bagley said the fee increases are needed to significantly boost the capacity and performance of the treatment plants. York County’s population has jumped by nearly 15 percent since 2010, according to U.S. Census data.

Not adapting to change could lead to a downturn in the area’s quality of life, Bagley said.

If you’re not a growing city, you’re a dying city.

Jimmy Bagley, deputy city manager of Rock Hill

“If you’re not a growing city, you’re a dying city,” he said. “You have to support utilities. We have to have the plants to be able to do that. When you have that, you have better quality jobs, better schools, a larger tax base with more people here.”

Rock Hill provides water to about 100,000 customers, including around 30,000 in Fort Mill, Tega Cay, the Catawba Indian Nation and other private water suppliers.

What will the money go to?

City officials say the additional money will help expand the water treatment plant, add wastewater filters to improve service and keep up with demand.

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