Archived Story

Water Board defends rates

Published 12:00pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Dadeville Water Board met in regular session Tuesday to discuss a number of items related to water use in the city.

One visitor to the board, Dan Cook, requested the water board give a lower rate to the Dadeville Masonic Lodge.

“I think it’s an unjust amount we’re having to pay,” Cook said.

Cook said the group meets twice a month and rents out part of the building for office space, but the lodges use a minimal amount of water – so little that the meter doesn’t move.

Cook requested the water board charge the lodge the residential rate instead of the commercial rate.

The current residential rate is $24.90 per month, which covers up to 2,000 gallons. The current commercial rate is $36.47 per month.

Cook said the Dadeville Masonic Lodge is paying $78.87 a month, which includes sewer costs.

Director Rush McKelvey said the board would try to figure out a solution for Cook.

“If we went from commercial to residential, you’d be saving about $12 a month,” McKelvey said. “Water has been a problem for a lot of municipalities … (Our) rates never went up for years because we had some politics involved. Any business, if you aren’t proactive, you’re going to die, so we as a board elected to say, ‘We have to run this thing right.’”

Board Chairman Macarthur Moss said there are other factors at play besides the difference in residential and commercial rates for water.

“The water that we purchase from Alex City has also increased,” Moss said. “That has a lot to do with the increase … we have to pass a little of that on to our customers to keep going.”

Attorney Robin Reynolds said the past four water rate increases were tied to a city ordinance that was passed on recommendation from the city auditor, based on the city’s near bankrupt condition.

“They made those increases over four years so they wouldn’t have to go up so much initially,” Reynolds said. “This board took over in 2009 after it was formed. It has not raised a single rate … Any decision to raise the rates for water or sewage will come from this board from here forth … This board isn’t going to do anything to raise rates just for sake of raising them. They don’t want the criticism.

“We’re trying to do what’s best for the city of Dadeville.”

There was no commercial rate in Dadeville until 2008, when a plan was made to increase water rates each year on the recommendation of the city auditor.

In 2008 the city’s commercial rate of $31.50 minimum per month was established in an ordinance that also called for a 5 percent increase per year every year until 2012, in addition to a 5-cent increase for every 1,000 gallons used. The 2008 ordinance also raised residential water rates to $21.50 minimum per month and called for a 5 percent increase each year until 2012 as well as a 5-cent increase to the usage rate, per 1,000 gallons used.

The board also:

- discussed repairs on pumps damaged from bits of plastic coming through the sewer water

- voted for one-time water adjustments for customers who had water problems that caused significantly higher-than-usual bills

- voted for a one-time pay raise for water/sewer board employees for Christmas

- tabled the hiring of Richard White as a new member of the board, pending further research by Reynolds on whether he is eligible, since he is a state employee

- voted to lease a copier

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