Town Council Will Review Sewer Rate Hikes

Several months ago, the Town Council approved new sewer rates for businesses and individual homes.  The rate for sewer service was increased from $2 per month to $21 for homes and $50 for businesses.  The move is unpopular with businesses who say they use far less water than homes and pay far more for it.

Businessman Michael Barrett of BFL Off Road complained that for three months he only used 32 gallons of water at his business yet paid $150 for sewer service.  He presented recent bills to back his complaint.

The Water/Wastewater Operator for the town, Bukar Mohamed explained that the minimum charge was for providing the service, or for having the city get rid of your wastewater.  Note that sewage usage is assumed to be the same as the amount of water used.  Mohamed said, “Using a little water does not get rid of the minimum charge.  That is to pay for the service or getting good water to customers.”

For background, several months the Town Council received a report from their consultant that by only charging $2 for sewer service the town was paying the additional cost of providing sewer service from funds received for water service.  And that subsidizing sewer service from the collections for water service was improper.  The consultant reported that the town should be charging $21 for residential and $50 for business customers for providing sewer service.  The sewer rate had not been updated in decades and the jump in rates was approved by the Town Council to bring rates in line with the true cost of providing the service.  The sudden jump in water bills is what has upset many people in the town.

After a lengthy discussion, the Town Council voted to go into executive session to talk about it.  Following that session, Town Attorney Cloyd Benjamin gave a brief statement that the council had a discussion regarding sewage rates.  He said, “We will have a session to review the sewage rates.”

There was no more information given on when the sessions would be held, would they be public, and when would the item come back up before the Council for any possible adjustment.

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