By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – Industrial water rates are changing…again.
This time rates are going up after Alderman voted to amend the already amended amendment to an amendment to a correction to the Water Resources Management Ordinance of 2005. The action came during the regular meeting of the Mayor and Board on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
It appears that the most current amendment returns the rates to the level of a correction to the 2005 ordinance which appeared in the legal notices published in the North Mississippi Herald on Aug. 25, 2005.
The original 2005 ordinance, dated Aug. 2 of that year, apparently used figures from an earlier ordinance and didn’t take into account a board order from October of 2003. That order raised all water rates by $.30 per 1000 gallons to make up for income lost by the closing that year of the poultry plant, the system’s largest user.
Fast forward to the Aug. 4 Board meeting where Mayor Larry Hart explained the change to Aldermen. He said that as he was preparing the water and sewer budget, he noticed that revenues looked “a little slight.”
Hart said that he started researching the cause and discovered that when the previous Board made their ordinance change on Feb. 3, 2009, they missed on their per thousand gallon charge.
“It was the desire of the board to go to their previous rate structure prior to their action of March of 2008 when they went to what I call a flat rate charge,” the Mayor said.
“Just to help you with this. If you will think about a figure of over 3,000,000 gallons, we were charging $.60 a thousand prior to their 2008 action. Then they went to the flat rate and then they wanted to go back to the previous rate. In so doing and ever how it happened, they went back to $.30 a thousand instead of $.60 a thousand,” Hart explained.
“Therein I found why our water and sewer revenues were down. So, without worrying about what happened, it falls our duty to change it back to the $.60 a thousand which is as it turns out, $.30 a thousand increase.”
Hart said that he talked with the two industrial accounts, Valley Poultry and BorgWarner and both understood and agreed with the change.
The Mayor emphasized that the rate increase affected industrial accounts only. “I hope it won’t get out that we are changing all water rates.”
Among other actions at the Aug. 4 meeting, the Board of Aldermen:
• Placed an order in the minutes declaring the BorgWarner property tax exemptions that have been approved the State Tax Commission. The total true value of the property is $31,588,051 and the exemptions cover periods of three years to ten years;
• Purchased a new Ford police vehicle with police package for $25,810;
• Authorized Police Chief Mike King to trade in 11 of the department’s 16-year-old service weapons for 13 new .40-caliber Glocks from Grenada Gun Exchange at a cost of $1,814;
• Approved an engineering study costing about $4,000 as the first step toward installing the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) for the water system;
• Approved a resolution to obtain grants to help pay for the SCADA system which is estimated to cost between $150,000 to $160,000;
• Approved another grant resolution allowing the Mayor to search for money to purchase a new fire truck estimated to cost about $300,000;
• Authorized a cash request for payments totaling $555.56 as part of the Baker Street Park Grant;
• Entered into the minutes that the municipal compliance questionnaire was completed by City Clerk Vivian Snider. The completed questionnaire is required as part of the 2007-2008 city audit;
• Recognized the donation of a family piano by Jamie and Barbara Thomas for the City Auditorium. The piano replaces one that was damaged by a leak in the building;
• Authorized the purchase of a copy machine costing $4,859 for the City Clerk’s office;
• Recessed until the next meeting. The next regular Board session is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 1, in the Boardroom at City Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m.