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City Water Rates Will Increase Five Percent In December

Water Valley Mayor Larry Hart calls for a vote to begin the process to raise water rates in the city by about five percent across the board. Photo by Jack Gurner

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Rates are going up by about five percent for city water consumers beginning in December.
    “We’ve come to a point where we need to tweak our water rates a little bit,” Mayor Larry Hart told aldermen at the first Tuesday meeting Oct. 7.
    The mayor explained that the average residential bill is $27.51 and a five percent increase would add another $1.38. “That’s not much,” Hart added. “We want to try to hold it to a minimum.”
    For commercial users, the average is $36.62, and the increase would add about $1.84, according to Hart. Although the mayor didn’t give an example, he commented after the meeting that industrial rates would be raised by five percent as well.
    “We still battle with the EPA and our wastewater treatment,” he continued. “They tighten and tighten the specs.”
    At issue is the amount of  ammonia nitrogen discharged into Otuckalofa Creek. At one time the EPA allowed up to 20 milligrams per liter in the discharge, but they have now lowered it to 4 milligrams per liter, Hart said earlier this year. “In my opinion that is almost impossible to attain chemically.”
    He added that the rates would have to be raised to purchase additional chemicals to bring the wastewater discharge into compliance.
    Commenting last Tuesday on other water and sewer news, Hart said that the department is about 65 percent complete on installation of “smart” meters and a couple of pressure pumps have been added to the north end of the system. The two pumps, which were about a $55,000 project, were acquired with grant money.
    Grant money also covered most of the recent $600,000 downtown sewer project with the cost to the city only about $65,000. “We’ve got a lot done in water and sewer,” the mayor added. “We’ve got a lot more to do.”
    The full ordinance has to be published for 30 days in the Herald before taking effect in December.
    Among other actions at the October meeting, aldermen:
    • Opened the one bid received from Howard Industries for two electrical transformers; one 7500 kVA unit and one 10,000 kVA unit. Aldermen voted to take the bid under advisement.
    • Heard a report from Mickey Howley, director of the Water Valley Main Street Association.
    Howley reported that  Patrice Frey, Director and CEO of the National Main Street Center, visited the city in mid-September and was impressed with Water Valley. “She thought this was one of the most impressive small towns in Mississippi,” he added.
    Howley invited the mayor and board as well as interested citizens to the annual Main Street meeting to be held Thursday evening, Oct 16, at the office on Main Street beginning at 7:30 p.m.
    •   Recognized City Clerk Vivian Snider for completing a Municipal Court Clerk seminar at the University of Mississippi Law Center in Jackson.
    • Heard a request from J. C. Womble. chairman of Christmas in the Valley for the Tri-Lakes Fairground Association, to hold the annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 6, beginning at 1 p.m. “Can you believe it?” Hart asked. “It’s that time again.”
    A rain date has been set for the following Saturday, Dec. 13.
    • Agreed to write off $7,215.69 from the active accounts of the city electric department. “Please remember that we continue to try to collect these,” said the mayor. “It’s not like we throw them away.”

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