MOUNT IDA – Alderpersons voted 4-1 to raise rates on services provided by the city of Mount Ida by six percent after hearing of a rate increase passed by the area’s regional water provider.
Mayor Jo Childress informed council members that the area regional water provider had decided to raise rates beginning January 1, 2017. The mayor, who is also a board member for the regional water provider, stated that rising costs of water production warranted the increase in water rates.
She explained that regional water increased the price of water by 25 cents per 1,000 gallons on the minimum usage amount imposed on each city serviced. Mount Ida’s minimum usage is seven million gallons per month while Oden’s is 750,000 gallons per month.
The increase means Mount Ida’s water bill will increase$1,750 per month.
Childress suggested the city pass a three percent increase on city services to include water, sewer, and garbage pick up. She stated this would increase a person who uses 1,000 gallons of water a month’s bill by just less than a dollar per month.
Alderman Melvin Simpson stated that the increase imposed by regional water was approximately 6.67 percent and he felt the city should increase their rates a similar amount to avoid any loss of revenue.
Alderman Joe Partain was leery of a huge increase and expressed a desire to use smaller incremental increases to “ease them into it.”
The Mayor added that regional had no choice regarding their increase and reminded everyone that without regional nobody would have water.
Alderman Rick Farmer pointed out that the city water department lost $243,000 in 2015. He felt that they needed a larger increase than what the mayor suggested to prevent an even greater loss.
Farmer made a motion to increase the rates for city services by six percent. Simpson seconded the motion and it passed 4-1 with Joe Partain casting the lone no vote. Margaret Scurlock was not in attendance.
The rate increase will go into effect January 1, 2017 and will include services provided to customers inside and outside city limits.
A public meeting is scheduled to take place Thursday, December 29, at 5:30 p.m. at the Mount Ida Civic Center.
They voted to give all city employees a 25 cent per hour raise. They also increased Brookie Mayberry’s salary for accounting services from $770 per month to $800 per month.
They approved the 2017 proposed budget for the city of Mount Ida.
They asked the Mayor to locate candidates for new city attorney. The city is in need of a new attorney due to John Maddox joining the state legislature.
Alderwoman Joan Whisenhunt asked if the city had ever considered using a paperless billing system. Mayberry stated that she would look into it. Mayberry stated that the water department does allow people to set up a bank draft payment with approximately 300 customers using this system.
Mount Ida water rates to see increase