Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

increases water rates

By Kevin Pearcey

Councilman Al Snellgrove vacated his seat on the Luverne City Council on Monday night.

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Snellgrove, an insurance agent with State Farm, has served as District 2 representative since his appointment in November 2003. He and his family are moving out of District 2.

Luverne Mayor Joe Rex Sport said the council would begin the search for Snellgrove's replacement.

"Al was an asset to the council and we're going to miss his contributions," said Sport.

On Monday the council also acted on the Water and Sewer Board's recommendation that water rates be raised $2 across the board for residential, commercial and industrial entities and voted for the increase. The current rate is $6 for all residential, commercial and industrial for 3,000 gallons. An additional fee of $1.50 for residential, $1.60 for commercial and $1.75 for industrial will be charged for every 1,000 gallons used over 2,000. There will also be a $50 deposit required to turn on water service.

The rate increase goes into affect on Oct. 1, 2005.

Tammie Roper, chairperson for the Family Readiness Group, met with the council to discuss ways the city can show support to members of the 1st Battalion of the 117th Field Artillery Unit, which will be mobilized for overseas duty in late August. Soldiers from Luverne, Citronelle, Greenville, Andalusia and Geneva will make up the 140 guard members deployed in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Approximately 25 guardsmen will come from Luverne.

This marks the first time the 1st Battalion of 117th has been deployed overseas since the Korean War.

Roper discussed the possibility of having a short ceremony with the guardsmen and their families in Douglas Park prior to their deployment. A larger ceremony will be held in Andalusia for the battalion on Aug. 22.

"When our soldiers first went over Iraq, it seems like you saw yellow ribbons and flags everywhere," said Roper, whose husband will also deploy.

"But now that we've been there for almost three years, you hardly see anything. But when they step foot on that soil there's the real possibility that one of them may not be coming back, so we don't need to forget them."

Roper said members of the 117th would be in Iraq for 12 months.

"We know we have a long wait for us," she said.

She also encouraged council members to attend a special pre-deployment dinner, scheduled for Aug. 13. Roper said she expects between 200 and 300 people to be at the dinner and asked the city if there was a place, other than the armory, where it could be held.

"The armory is not air conditioned and with that many people we'd like to have it a more comfortable place," she said.

The council advised Roper that it would solicit use of the Tom Hardin Agricultural Center for use by the 117th and their families that day.