Archived Story

New Site Council tables issue of local water rates

Published 6:42pm Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Water rates are still under discussion after an hour of crunching numbers and making suggestions during Monday’s New Site Town Council meeting.

“We’ve got to come up with a decision one way or another,” said Councilman Michael East. “We need some numbers we can work with.”

Water rates came under discussion when chicken farmers in New Site said their water bills were too much of a burden and asked for a rate that took into account their high rate of water usage.

The challenge became finding a rate that would work for everyone.

“The more water you use, the more you’re going to be using up your infrastructure, so you’re going to have to set more money aside to replace the infrastructure,” said Andrew Crawford, who came to make recommendations to the town from the Alabama Rural Water Association.

“Now I’m not saying chicken farmers have to pay for your whole system … my recommendation would be to not lose money.”

While Crawford warned the town against setting too low of a water rate, Councilman Mickey Carter also expressed concern at the loss the town would face if the chicken farmers stopped using New Site water and instead built wells.

“We’re either going to make a little money, or we’re not going to make any,” Carter said. “I know these guys personally – I know what they’re capable of doing, and I know what they’ve already got. They could go to a well in a heartbeat.”

Discussion among the council members centered on finding a water rate that would both accommodate chicken farmer and other high-capacity water customers as well as allow the town to run the system and make a small profit.

“The rates we’re at now are pretty much what it’s taking us to run the system,” said Town Clerk Shelia Fuller. “I pay the bills. I know what it costs to run the system … and we’re not making a fortune off what we’re charging our water customers, plus all the extra stuff they’re throwing on us with chlorinators and everything else. We’ve got to be paying the bill, or we’re not going to be pumping anybody any water.”

The council moved to table the discussion of water rates and allow Carter and East to look into it further and work out a viable plan for New Site.

The council also heard updates on the following town matters:

– the installation of a chlorinator at Hillabee Pumping Station

– improvements at the ball fields

– improvements to the senior citizen center

– public safety issues including the implementation of Operation Lifesaver International, the purchase of a Tahoe, the selling of a 2003 Crown Vic and repairs at the fire department

– the construction of the Verizon cellphone tower, which is still in progress

– the transfer of all banking accounts to Aliant Bank

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