Five towns in Hampton County facing water rate hike - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Five towns in Hampton County facing water rate hike

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People in Hampton County are going to paying more for their water in the next few months, some as much as 40 percent more.

The water rate hike will affect about 3,000 customers in Hampton County who are part of the Lowcountry Regional Water System.

Tuesday, the company held a public meeting at the Hampton County Administrative Center.

The water system represents 5 towns within Hampton County: Varnville, Brunson, Gifford, Yemassee and Hampton.

LRWS took over the water system in June last year and the goal was to bring all the towns up to one rate by 2018.

However, the company said their revenues have fallen short of their expenses ever since taking over, and they're losing as much as $45,000 per month.

Because of that, the company said they must do a rate increase now that would put everyone close to being on the same rate, but it's still lower than what they would pay in 2018.

Yemassee would still be paying about $6 less than the other towns after the rate hike, but they have the highest increase, more than 40 percent.

LRWS is planning to phase in the increase over a six month period, and the company's general manager laid out that schedule at Tuesday's meeting.

But still, the increase is not sitting well with local leaders.

"It just tears me up because I've been in office for almost 26 years and I know the people, we have a wonderful town and we have a lot of people who can't afford this and that's what makes me so angry," said Lloyd Griffith, Mayor Pro Tem for the Town of Varnville.

LRWS will hold a public hearing for the rate increase on March 25 at 6 p.m. followed by a second reading at the Hampton County Administrative Center.

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