McKenzie council raises water rates

Published 5:36 pm Friday, November 14, 2014

The McKenzie Town Council voted to increase town water rates to help pay for a new well pump at its meeting on Thursday night.

Well No. 2’s water pump has to be replaced, McKenzie Mayor Lester Odom Jr. said.

The well is located at the intersection of Wise Road and South Garland. The total cost for the project, which includes a new pump and pulling out the pump for inspection, is $64,800.

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The council went into a joint session to discuss how to pay for the new pump.

Odom said the town has 90 days to cover the invoice and will need a lawyer to work on the loan. To inspect the old pump, a camera was sent down the well and uncovered no lasting damage.

Odom said it cost $13,325 to pull the old pump out for an inspection. The new pump cost $49,996.

As far as the loan is concerned, Odom said the town has enough on hand to borrow about $60,000.

“A portion of it will be paid with what we have in the treasury,” he said.

Odom made a motion that the town borrow $60,000 and it carried by unanimous vote.

In order to pay for the new pump, council members present discussed raising water rates for residents inside and outside of the town limits.

Odom estimated that it’s going to cost about $1,000-$1,200 per month on a five-year loan to pay for the new pump.

Currently, residents inside the city limits are paying $14 for the first 2,000 gallons of water used. For those outside the town limits, it’s $15 for the first 2,000 gallons of water used. Anything after gets a $3.10 fee added. Every June, the overage fee increases by 10 cents.

The council discussed in length to increase the water rates by $3 for those inside the town limits and $4 for those outside, and possibly increasing the loan in years. By law, the town must give residents a month’s notice of the increase.

“We are on a break-even basis now,” Odom said.

Coucil member Lori Brown made a suggestion that the water rates increase to $17 for those inside the town limits and $19 for those outside the town limits.

The council approved the water rate increase.

In other well business, Odom said a set of scales had to be bought for well No. 1 with a cost of $4,000.

In other council business:

• Odom apologized to the council and any local veterans because the United States flags were not put up;

• approved to pay for the sod in front of Capital Improvements;

• approved the purchase of new bulbs for Christmas decorations; and,

• council members went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

The town’s Christmas parade is slated for Dec. 6, at 10 a.m.