Bridgeport Council approves 4 percent water rate increase

The Exponent Telegram
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

By:      Adam Tobias

 BRIDGEPORT -        An area developer met with Bridgeport Council during a work session Monday to provide some information on several proposed projects at Charles Pointe.

 Later at its regular meeting, council passed the 2012-13 water fund budget that will result in a rate increase for city residents.

 Robert Stuart, director of planning and engineering with Genesis Partners, told council his company is currently in discussions with 22 engineering and architectural firms on the planned, massive development south of W.Va. 279 and east of Interstate 79.

 Stuart said Genesis Partners will probably select several of those companies to work on the project since it involves a wide scope and a variety of different aspects.  Genesis hopes to narrow that number down by the end of June, he added.

 According to James Corton, a managing partner with Genesis Partners, almost $400 million has been secured for the undertaking because of Charles Pointe being approved by the state as an Economic Opportunity Development District, or a Sales Tax TIF.

 Included in the proposed development are a minor league baseball field, 400 additional apartment units, a 550,000-square-foot retail complex, an Italian retail village designed to complement an upscale Tuscany resort area, a 99,000-square-foot recreation center and new hotels.

 But Corton said he is most excited about the planned 400-room resort that will connect to a new conference center by a skywalk.  The resort is expected to consist of a water park with an all-glass retractable roof, zip line areas, an amphitheater, an ice skating rink and outdoor water amenities, he added.

 In other business, Council approved a $3.15 million water fund budget that Finance Director Monica Musgrave says will lead to rate increases of about 4 percent.

 “(The budget) does take into account Phase 2 and 3 of a water rate increase that was approved previously … our rate increases are approximately 4 percent per year,” Musgrave added.

 Musgrave attributed part of the rate hike to the city having to absorb Clarksburg’s water rate increase.  Inflation and employee pay raises also played a factor, she added.

 Musgrave said the budget includes $630,000 in capital projects within the water system.

 Council also:

 Passed the $442,514 cemetery fund budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The budget incorporates an ordinance approved Monday by council that doubles the rate for monuments that are purchased from outside vendors.

        Awarded a bid to Dodd General Contractors Corp. for the repair and replacement of concrete streets in the city in 2012.

            Council allotted $87,580 for the project, as well as 10 percent in contingency for any additional necessary work.

        Authorized the city to lease a water line from the Clarksburg Water Board that extends from the east side of Interstate 79 to White Oaks.

        Passed on first reading an ordinance prohibiting the use of electronic communications devices without hands-free equipment while driving.

Bridgeport attorney Dean Ramsey said the ordinance mirrors the legislation that was recently approved by the state.

         Passed the second reading of an ordinance establishing the grade and step salary schedule for city employees in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The new schedule takes into account the 3 percent pay raise for city workers that council approved in the 2012-13 fiscal budget.

         Endorsed a budget revision regarding $60,000 in excess funds from the hotel occupancy tax.

Musgrave said the money will be split up between the visitors bureau and park land development.