Brundidge council rescinds solid waste appointments

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2003

The Brundidge City Council heard a review of the city's water and sewer rates, gave the go-ahead for negotiations with Hudson Cleanwater CWT and rescinded action taken by the council in the formation of the city's solid waste authority.

Polyengineering's water and sewer rate review consumed most the council's regular meeting Tuesday and provided information that will be given much consideration by the council before a decision is made to implement the recommendations of the findings.

Max Mobley praised the city for its outstanding wastewater treatment facility, saying it puts the city in an enviable position when opportunity comes knocking.

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Mobley said many industries are looking for sites that can accommodate high strength wastewater and that works to the city's advantage.

However, he also said that the city's present water and sewage rates do not generate the needed revenue to make its wastewater treatment facility self-supporting.

Mobley said the city increased it standard water rates in 1987 from $2.50 to $5 and its sewage from $1.25 to $2.50, a rather high jump.

Residential standard meter customers currently pay a minimum of $7.00 a month for water. The recommendation cited in the review would increase the minimum fee to $7.50. For non-residential customers, the minimum rate for water would begin at $8 for standard meter users and increase according to use, up to $225 per month for 6-inch meters.

Mobley said the increase for sewer rates would be substantially higher.

"It costs a lot more to treat sewage than it does to provide water," he said. "Sewage is messy and costly to treat."

For single unit standard meter customers the recommended sewer rate minimum would increase from $5 to $9.75. The large meter non-residential users would pay a minimum of $14.70 and rates would increase with usage.

Mobley said these rates would make the city's wastewater treatment facility self-sufficient and that would be a huge benefit for the city.

Britt Thomas, city manager, said Polyengineering's rate review is just that - a review.

"A lot of things will be considered before any action is taken," he said. "This review will give the council something to study to see if this is the route they want to take."

Thomas said that in 1987 when rates were doubled, the late L.Q Johnston said not to ever double rates, to take a nickel and dime along when it was needed.

He suggested that the council take that approach in the future so that the city council would never be in a position of having to make a steep rate increase. That, he said, would be in the city's best interest and that of its citizens.

The council voted to authorize the mayor, the city manager and the city clerk to continue negotiations with Hudson Cleanwater CWT. The company plans to open a centralized wastewater treatment facility in Brundidge once the company receives a State Industrial Discharge (SID) permit.

The company initially plans to pre-treat high strength wastewater at its Troy facility to get it to an acceptable limit and then haul it to Brundidge to be treated at the city's wastewater treatment facility. Plans include moving the pre-treatment to facility to Brundidge.

In final action, the city council rescinded action taken by the council in the formation of the City of Brundidge Solid Waste Authority.

The council members had appointed themselves, the mayor and the city manager to the seven-member board. The board members were to serve staggered terms from one to seven years.

However, the city was notified that state law does not allow a board member to serve a seven-year term.

In rescinding the action, the council now will be in position to set two six-year terms and authorize the establishment of the board October 1, 2003 to coincide with the terms of the council members and mayor.

Had the action not been rescinded, the board would have been operational according to previous action.