Friday, August 21, 2009

Rate increase ahead?

via Stuttgart Daily Leader News RSS by Leigh Kreimeier on 8/20/09

8-20 Front-Water Project Pic.jpg

Not only is the downtown district historic, so are the underground pipes that provide water and sewer utilities to the merchants and residents in the area. The age and condition of the pipes is what prompted Stuttgart City Council Alderman Bob Koch to bring up a possible rate increase at Tuesday night's Stuttgart City Council meeting

Within the minutes of the Stuttgart City Council, it was found that District 1, or downtown Stuttgart, water lines were laid sometime in 1900 and the sewer lines came in 1905.

These lines, except for repairs and replacement in segments, are the same pipes that are still in use in downtown Stuttgart today.

"These [current pipes in use] are the original pipes that were laid," Stuttgart Municipal Waterworks and Stuttgart Sewer Department director Tommy Lawson said.

The original pipes were franchised by Arkansas Power and Light until they were later bought by the City of Stuttgart on May 1, 1942 for $187,500. The total bill after a new booster station, water tower and water main extension in 1942 came to $235,000.

"I know the downtown (pipes) is over 100 years old," Koch said, at the recent Stuttgart City Council meeting. "It presents a lot of hazards. I'm pleading the case on reviewing infrastructure. It's time to be proactive."

The last rate increase was to water in 2006, which is now set at $6 net per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons per month. When the water was purchased from Arkansas Power and Light in 1942 the set price was $.50 net per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons. The water rates have been raised $5.50 in 67 years.

"We recently didn't qualify for a grant because our rates were too low," Stuttgart Mayor Marianne Maynard said.

The grant opportunity was through Arkansas Rural Water. The city was looking for other avenues to fund the replacement of water and sewer lines.

"I agree with Bob [Koch] and the Mayor about this, but not necessarily raising the water rates," Stuttgart Alderman Wade Hobbs said.

Hobbs explained he has noticed lines being repaired three or four times in the same area. He said he doesn't understand why certain stretches of line can't be replaced instead of repaired, he explained.

Money was the still the issue, according to other members of the council.

"You have to pay for this (work)," Donald Stephens, Stuttgart City Council Alderman said. "You can't afford it if you don't raise the rates."

No action was taken on the issue and no estimate was given on the possible increase. Look to the Daily Leader for any updates in this story.


 
 

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Stay informed: http://mayorjfvalley.googlepages.com (Mayor Valley's Homepage) http://tinyurl.com/4tlb44 (Mayor's Journal)


Honorable James F. Valley
MAYOR - Helena West Helena
P O Box 248
226 Perry Street
Helena-West Helena, 72342
870-572-3421 Phone
870-817-4035 Cell
800-517-7240 Fax

http://tinyurl.com/councilagenda (City Council Agenda)



--
--
Stay informed: http://mayorjfvalley.googlepages.com (Mayor Valley's Homepage) http://tinyurl.com/4tlb44 (Mayor's Journal)


Honorable James F. Valley
MAYOR - Helena West Helena
P O Box 248
226 Perry Street
Helena-West Helena, 72342
870-572-3421 Phone
870-817-4035 Cell
800-517-7240 Fax

http://tinyurl.com/councilagenda (City Council Agenda)

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