This article was published in the Lenoir News-Topic.

Rhodhiss will increase its price for water and sewer service in 2013-14, if the town council approves the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The bill for 4,000 gallons of water would rise from $23.51 to $28.

A 4,000-gallon sewer bill would rise from $23.51 to $34.

The town funds its water and sewer system through an enterprise fund, and right now, it’s not breaking even.

“It has to fund itself,” Town Manager Barbara Harmon told the town council Tuesday night. “It has to support itself, and it’s still not doing it. Rates are just too low. You’re going to have to increase the rates.”

Currently, the town is pulling from its capital reserve fund to balance the budget — it will pull $82,000 this year if rates don’t increase, Harmon said.

That’s not sustainable, Harmon said.

“If we continue having to do that, we’re going to run out of money,” she said.

Several town leaders said they didn’t want to raise rates but couldn’t see how they could avoid it.

“It’s not something we want to do, it’s something we have to do,” Mayor Rick Justice said. “There’s no way around it.”

The town council will discuss the proposed increase further at its June 11 meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Ray Childers School.