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City Hikes Water Rates

Mayor Larry Hart (back center) comments during the bid acceptance procedure for electrical transformers.

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – City aldermen have adopted the amended water resource ordinance that will increase rates by five percent beginning in December.
The original ordinance was adopted in August of 2005 and amended in 2008 and again in 2009. The new amendment will increase water rates in the city five percent across the board to “purchase additional chemicals to bring the wastewater discharge into compliance,” according to Mayor Larry Hart.
“We still battle with the EPA and our wastewater treatment,” Hart said at the October board meeting. “They tighten and tighten the specs.”
At issue is the amount of ammonia nitrogen that eventually is discharged into Otoucalofa Creek.
The mayor read the ordinance into the minutes at the first Tuesday meeting last week and it was adopted by a unanimous voice vote of the aldermen. The full text of the document is published on page 12 of this issue of the Herald.
Among other actions at the Nov. 4 meeting, aldermen:
• Heard a report from Mickey Howley, director of the Water Valley Main Street Association.
Howley told aldermen that the Sixth Annual Water Valley Art Crawl received an award from the Mississippi Creative Economy office for the Water Valley Art Council.
He continued that the Main Street Association was working together with the Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce on two “buy local” events. One was the Christmas Open House this past weekend. The other is on the Christmas Parade weekend and includes buggy rides and specials in local stores.
• Accepted a $10,000 bid from Spring Hill North Missionary Baptist Church for 2.7 acres east of Railroad Street that once was the site of the Illinois Central Railroad Shops.
The church bid was one of two opened at the meeting. The other bid was for $3000 from Steve Riley.
Aldermen Larry Bell questioned the sale, adding that he believed the property was worth more than $10,000.
Mayor Hart noted that the land was “old railroad shop yard” and was sold “as is” to the church. “I think we need to move it,” he said.
Alderment voted four to one to accept the church bid with Bell casting the dissenting vote.
• Accepted a bid of $8,250 from Cytec Software Systems of Jackson to install a WiFi system in the downtown area. Aldermen also had to vote to extend the original grant application because time had run out.
According to Oscar De Leon of Cytec, the WiFi will be free once it is in place. “The Internet is being provided by the city for a specific downtown area,” he said and added that it may be a couple of weeks before installation is complete. “The equipment needs to be ordered and tested in house.”
• Accepted the one bid received from Howard Industries of Laurel for two electrical transformers; one 7500 kVA unit and one 10,000 kVA unit with a total price of over $170,000. Aldermen took the bid under advisement last month to get input from Electric Department Manager Andy Hall.
• Paid Crow Martin LLC $1,935.12 for legal work to clear several issues at the W. C. Gardiner Industrial Park.
• Heard that the city would take Thanksgiving holidays on Nov. 27 and 28.

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