Water, sewage rate hike considered

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 19, 1999

Staff Writer

Dec. 18, 1999 10 PM

In an effort to cover operation and maintenance costs of its water system, the City of Troy is proposing an increase in water and sewage rates.

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The rate change was proposed by Ordinance 172 at the Tuesday meeting of the Troy City Council.

It will receive a second reading, and the public will have an opportunity to share comments with council members at a public hearing that will be held during the body’s Dec. 28 meeting.

After that hearing, council members will have the opportunity to vote on the ordinance. Alton Starling, city of Troy clerk and treasurer, said he expects the proposal to pass.

Troy has had the lowest water rate in the state for many years, according to the Alabama Rural Water Association. The increase will simply make the city’s rates more competitive with other municipalities, Starling said.

Under the proposed rate increase, most residents will see their water bills increase $1.50 per month, he said.

The proposal calls for the city to increase its water rates to $5 per month for every 3,000 gallons of water used and $2 per every 1,000 gallons of water used above the 3,000 gallons mark.

The present water rate is $3.50 for every 3,000 gallons of water and 70 cents for every 1,000 gallons of water beyond that, he said.

The city has operated under these current rates since 1991.

The proposed ordinance also includes an increase in sewage rates.

The sewage rate will be based on the amount of water going into a residence or business, because that water must also be disposed of, Starling said.

Whether you use water or not, there would be a $5 monthly service charge for those connected to the system plus a $1.25 fee per 1,000 gallons of water used.

"If you run 100,000 through your system, the cost would be capped at $20," he said.

The change is not sudden for the city and has been under consideration for some time. Starling said he has been working on the project for the past two-and-a-half years,

The city’s water and sewage rates were evaluated when an engineering study of the Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant was conducted in 1995, Starling said. Its results showed that over the next 20 years from normal operating will have to change rates to pay for the expenses of doing business.

That 1995 study recommended the city increase its water rates to $5 per month for every 3,000 gallons of water and $2 per 1,000 gallons used above that standard, or what is being proposed by Ordinance 172.

"The city’s cash flow has been well-managed over the past several years," he said. "We just need to cover the cost of maintaining the system.

The increase will help to fund upgrades in the city’s water and sewage system, said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford at the council meeting Tuesday.

Another water tower will be built on the south side of the city, he said. It will be constructed there so it can draw water from a different aquafer than what the city uses now. this way, it won’t compete with the present water towers.

Expand the Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, improve other system infrastructure and construct additional pumping stations.

Funds will also be used for day-to-day operation and maintenance of the system.