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City Garbage, Electricity Rates Set To Increase

At the March meeting Mayor Larry Hart fanned through the many pages of the new TVA contract. “If any of you would like to read it, it will be at the office.”

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Sooner or later residents are going to pay more for some basic city services.

It’ll be sooner for garbage collection and later for electricity after aldermen voted to raise sanitation rates and amend the current contract with TVA at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Mar. 1.

The rising cost of diesel fuel is the reason for the fee increase for garbage collection, Mayor Larry Hart said. “We haven’t adjusted our rate since 2007. It looks like if we increased our monthly sanitation rate by a dollar, it would put us back in pretty good standing with our budget as we see this diesel fuel price continue to climb.”

Hart explained that the rate for residential collection would go up $1 over the current rate of $10.50. “And, about that same percentage for offices and commercial.”

The new rates will go into effect 30 days after the amendment’s publication later this month. Currently the rate for commercial varies from $20 to $60. Commercial dumpster rates cap at $378.

The exact amount of the electrical rate increase is not yet known. “I want everybody to know there will definitely be a rate increase in electricity come October of 2012. And it will be significant,” Hart emphasized. “We have no choice. TVA says this is the way it is going to be.”

“April is an important month in our relationship with TVA,” Hart told Aldermen, “as is October of 2012.”

Hart explained that in April the City would be going under an amendment to the existing contract with TVA as they restructure the way electricity will be billed. It is a prelude to on-demand billing that begins in October 2012.

The Mayor fanned through the many-pages of the  document. “If any of you would like to read it, it will be at the office.”

Under the coming rate structure, TVA will charge the Water Valley Electric Department more during peak use hours; during the day in the summer and during the wee hours of the morning in winter. What that means to consumers is they will pay more for electricity used during the peak hours.

To help ratepayers the City will install smart meters that record electrical consumption in intervals of an hour or less and communicate that information back to the utility throughout the day for monitoring and billing purposes. Utility customers who are willing to change their lifestyle and the way they operate appliances in their home can save money.

“Don’t that make your feel warm and cozy,” Hart commented on the new system.

“The bottom line is both levels are going up. Electricity is going to cost us more. But, they are offering us some relief in the matter by being able to choose when you buy your electricity.”

“It’s not just here, it’s everywhere,” said Hart. “October 2012 is the drop dead date on this thing. Electricity as we know it and consume it will be different.”

In other actions involving the Electric Department, the Board of Aldermen:

• Added the enhanced security deposit program to the department’s policy.

Under the TVA sponsored program, commercial customers who qualify will be able to get back their security deposit. To qualify requires two years of on-time bill payment, not going into delinquency, and nomination by the Electric Department.

• Approved moving the department’s billing date from the 25th of the month to the first of the month.

In other business, the Board of Aldermen:

• Heard from Water Valley Main Street Association Director Mickey Howley who reported that the organization had several events upcoming.

On March 19, the Water Valley Arts Council will hold a fundraiser for the youth summer art camp program. The Come As You Aren’t costume and dance party will be held at Bozart’s Gallery on Main Street.

The annual downtown festival will be May 7. This year’s event is called the World’s Largest Crappie Festival.  “We’re still working on vendors and sponsors right now,” Howley said.

The WVMSA is working with the Town and County Garden Club on the first Main Street bump-out, he continued. The bump-out is located at the Railroad Park pavilion and is part of the downtown streetscape project.

Lastly, Howley told Aldermen that on April 8 there would be an opening for a new business downtown. It is an art gallery in Wade Doolin’s old barber shop building being run by local artists Coulter Fussell and Megan Kingery.

The WVMSA is working with the two local artists on redoing the facade. “They’re going to try to keep that barbershop feel,” Howley said.

• Accepted  bids from Hanson Pipe & Precast for concrete culverts; G&O Supply Co. for metal culverts; and Advanced Drainage Systems for plastic culverts. “They were the only ones we got,” Hart said.

• Accepted two bids from Marshbanks Roofing, one for $9,572 for work over the front office area, and a second for $6,803 for the main roof.

• Adjourned after meeting for just under 23 minutes.

The next regular meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 5. at 6:30 in the boardroom at City Hall.

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