Tega Cay took another step this week toward acquiring the troubled, privately owned Tega Cay Water Service, giving initial approval to a $676,045 budget for the utility in its first four months under city control.
Tega Cay Water Service – which serves more than 1,700 water and sewer customers in some of the oldest parts of the city – won’t initially be enveloped by the Tega Cay Utilities Department, which provides water and sewer services to about 1,500 property owners.
Instead, it will be known as “Traditional Tega Cay Utility Service.”
“We have come an extremely long way in this process,” City Manager Charlie Funderburk said. “We still have several more items that we have to finalize and bring to City Council in the coming weeks if we are going to close on this transaction by the end of the month, but this was definitely another step in the right direction.”
Last month, the City Council agreed to buy the private service for $5.85 million.
Tega Cay Water Service has come under fire over the past year from customers, lawmakers and state and federal regulators because of multiple spills totaling hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage into Lake Wylie.
Monday’s vote laid out a budget for May 31 to Sept. 30, when existing city budgets end their years. The budget assumes income of about $286,000 for water service and $379,000 for sewer service. About $11,000 in outside revenue is included, but tap fee charges aren’t.
About $325,000 of that will pay for overhead, maintenance and administration costs, and about $227,000 will go to a fund balance. The remaining funds, about $125,000, will pay for work done to evaluate and complete the acquisition.
Budget details in the new ordinance show the city will purchase water at $1.92 per 1,000 gallons and bring in $5.97 per 1,000 gallons from customers. Customers will pay $52.95 per month for sewer service.
The council next meets May 19, when second and final reading on the budget will be considered.
“What we did...is just the next step in many steps to get to the goal line,” last night,” Mayor George Sheppard, “which is closing on the new utility department owned by Tega Cay.”