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The board of the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts is expected to vote Tuesday on a quarterly rate increase of $11.50 per unit for all customers.

More than 200 people attended a public hearing on the proposed hike Thursday night in Fluvanna Fire Hall. The increase would be the fifth imposed since 1986.

Board member James Murphy pointed to rising costs, replacement of old equipment and the restoration of a reserve fund for emergencies as reasons for the proposed increase.

He said the increase is expected to raise an estimated $330,000.

The proposed hike drew protests from many on fixed incomes.

Marjorie Jones of Greenhurst, a widow, said, "I think that your rates should be pro-rated to take into consideration that we've got single people trying to maintain a residence, and we're not blessed like some families with a mother, father and four or five children."

"Eventually, if they keep going up, we're going to be forced from our homes," she added.

Shirley Messler of Ashville's Goose Creek area doesn't feel an across-the-board increase is fair to those who aren't big users.

"I do not use as much water and sewage going down that sewer drain as people with four or five kids in my area," she said. "But I pay the same or maybe more than some of them do."

The sewer districts were originally formed in 1969 in the lower end of Chautauqua Lake.

Administrative Board President Thomas Erlandson said Friday the board will take written comments on the proposed increase through Monday.

The board's regular meeting is Tuesday in the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts offices.

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