CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (DC News Now) — A proposed water utility hike is causing concern in Jefferson County, one of West Virginia’s fastest-growing counties.

The concern centers around a proposed buyout of local utilities by West Virginia American Water.

“We going to have to pay higher rates. It’s going to affect us all. It would have a big impact and we’re going to have an extra 20 or 30 percent increase,” said Valerie Campbell of Charles Town.

It comes as the county experiences a housing boom.

“I have five children and it is concerning — the rate hike,” said Sarah Smith of Charles Town. “We talked to them about taking shorter showers and to use water from the fridge and stuff like that so we’re not wasting water.”

Local officials are advocating for the ratepayers as the state public service commission prepares to weigh in.

“Our ultimate goal is to preserve the service area and insure that our ratepayers have the lowest possible rate as well as addressing the environmental concerns,” said Kristin Stoliphor, general manager of the Charles Town utility board.

Ranson Mayor Duke Pierson is on the same page. “Our job is to make the rates as low as possible and to deliver the best product,” he said.

Charles Town Mayor Bob Trainor’s concern is that West Virginia American Water “is pressing hard. They want their rates. The statewide rates apply to the people here in Jefferson County.” 

The state Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the Jefferson County Courthouse.