In an ef­fort to provide funding for the incoming sewage waste treat­ment plant, the city council has passed several measures calling for an increase in util­ity rates.


 


All utility customers will pay an additional $5 for capital improvements. Those affected will be customers of either wa­ter, sewage or trash services. The cost will be limited to $5 whether a customer has one service or all three. The CIP is expected to raise $9,500 a month and can be used for any city project. It will provide funds for other improvements in the city in conjunction with payments on the plant.


In an ef­fort to provide funding for the incoming sewage waste treat­ment plant, the city council has passed several measures calling for an increase in util­ity rates.

 

All utility customers will pay an additional $5 for capital improvements. Those affected will be customers of either wa­ter, sewage or trash services. The cost will be limited to $5 whether a customer has one service or all three. The CIP is expected to raise $9,500 a month and can be used for any city project. It will provide funds for other improvements in the city in conjunction with payments on the plant.

 

“We don’t want to just sur­vive,” City Manager Ian O’Neal said. “For years, we just main­tained and we need to improve our community for growth.” One of the projects O’Neal was hopeful of was connect­ing different additions to the plant in the upcoming years. Initial plans do not call for the inclusion of all water customers to the plant.

 

All sewage and water customers will see an increase in their charges. Water costs will go up $1.25 per month and sewage rates will go up $6.90. It is part of a planned increase in stages. In 2013, rates will go up an additional $1.25 per month for water and $6.90 for sewage.

 

An additional set of charges was announced mainly for new water customers. New customers will pay more for new taps installation. The ¾-inch tap price will increase from $700 to $1,200. The 1-inch tap price will increase from $1,000 to $1,500 and the 2-inch tap price will increase from $2,500 to $3,000. A new sewer tap will increase from $500 to $900.

 

The council also approved a relocation increase from $300 to $500. Those who are late in paying their water bills have been charged a $25 disconnect fee in the past. That fee will increase to $50.

 

The trash deposit has increased from $30 to $50 and bulk water has increased from $.02 a gallon to $.04 a gallon.

 

O'Neal said the charges for new taps and, relocation fees and trash deposits have not been raised since 2005. An increase in bulk water sales took place in 2011.

 

In terms of current water usage, the city has battled a problem with one of its wells. The Martin Well, located on Newport Road, went down on April 13. Maintenance work was performed two months ago, but problems once again flared up when the well began pumping out dirty water to half of the city.

 

"Once we started getting dirty water calls about noon, we kicked it off," O'Neal said. "The guys tried to get ahead of it by blowing out the system but unfortunately you can’t get it all. It will not go back on until it is repaired.”

 

O’Neal said in an effort to address complaints of dirty water within the city, a new procedure has been implemented.

 

“We have a dirty water report,” he said. “It is a one page form for the water clerk to fill out when she gets a call. We want to make sure these complaints are getting to the appropriate people. In the past, there has been no documentation. With these reports, we can try and isolate where the problems are.”

 

O’Neal was given a raise in compensation Monday night during the council meeting. His pay has been increased to $65,000 a year. Former city manager Marianne Elfert was paid $70,000 a year prior to being terminated. Elfert currently has an appeal filed after a summary judgment ruled against her in a lawsuit against the city.