BRISTOL, Virginia -

     Rate increases could be on the way for BVU customers. The board of directors passed a budget today. It includes an 8.5% increase, which would mean an $4.56 cents on the average residential water and sewer bill.

     BVU leaders say they came up with the dollar figure after consulting with engineers to find out what was needed to make the system less fragile. We're told BVU's current investment is not sufficient.

     Michael Bundy, BVU Authority Interim President says, "That level going forward into the next 10 years would lead us into a place where the sewer system would be compromised and we could have catastrophic failures in the next decade. So, we needed to change the level of capital investment."

     Because a rate increase is being proposed, there will still need to be a second reading.