WILLIAMSON – At the Williamson City Council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 9, Mayor Robert Carlton spoke on behalf of the Williamson Utility Board and Williamson Council in favor of both the water and sewer rates being reviewed by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
On Tuesday, Sept. 29, the PSC entered a recommended decision to dismiss the citizens’ of Williamson request to halt the proposed sewer rate increase due to a lack of required signatures.
The recommended decision entered by the PSC states, “On Sept. 14, 2015, Staff moved to dismiss the municipal appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Staff argued that a close examination of the petition shows that it is actually two petitions with only one of the two petitions protesting the sewer rates. Staff counted the signatures of the petition specifically protesting the sewer rates and concluded that it was signed by approximately 160 customers and that 324 signatures were needed to create PSC jurisdiction over the sewer rates.”
At Thursday’s council meeting, a citizen asked the council for an update on the matter. Carlton responded to the citizen saying, “It is my position and I believe that it is the position of the council and utility board that the citizens of Williamson should have a full airing of their concerns over the rate increases of both water and sewer.”
Carlton continued saying, “The PSC dismissed the sewer protest because supposedly there aren’t enough signatures. I requested that Mr. Rodecker, who is the attorney for the utilities board, file objections to that and request that both matters be considered because I want your (the citizens) voice to be heard.”
Carlton also discussed the benefits of the citizen’s protest on the water and sewer rate increase. “The benefit of your protest has been that the PSC is sending auditors to audit everything and make a recommendation on the percentage of the water and sewer increase. The other benefit is that we are pulling in other areas to which we supply water and hopefully the PSC will set those rates as well. We plan on pursuing an equalization of all these rates,” Carlton explained.
The Concerned Citizens Group of Williamson has also continued to take action concerning the PSC’s recommended dismissal of the water and sewer rates. On Oct. 8, Shawn Williamson filed an affidavit in the water and sewer case.
The affidavit states, “I, Shawn Williamson, being first duly sworn, depose and say as follows:
I am a petitioner in cases before the PSC. On Sept. 8 2015, I filed a petition with 921 signatures with the PSC protesting water and sewer rate increases for customers of Williamson Water and Sewer, the water company for the City of Williamson.
I was personally and actively involved in the collection of signatures for the petition and intimately aware of the intent of customers with regard to the protest.
Although two different versions of the petitions were drafted, it was always the intent of the customers to file all signatures as one petition.
This intent is reflected and substantiated by the fact that the signatures were all sent in one mailing, under one cover letter which clearly referred to ‘a petition.’”
The next Williamson City Council meeting will be Oct. 22.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)