DELBARTON – Following a lengthy discussion, the Delbarton City Council made a decision on the minimum bill for water customers after the new rate increase takes effect.
Currently, customers are being charged $14.30 per 2,000 gallons of water used. The actions taken last night will increase the minimum bill to $25.10 per every 2,000 gallons used. This increases the price by $6.80 per 2,000 gallons.
Delbarton Mayor John Preece opened the discussion saying, “We have been in touch with the Public Service Commission (PSC) several times over the last few weeks about our need to raise the (water) rates. We have all talked about that need and why it exists. We are not covering our debt service. We have to raise our rates in order to cover our debt.”
Preece continued saying, “We have lost money. We have lost money across the board. That is the bottom line. We have to raise these rates. We probably should have done this two or three years ago.”
At that time, Preece distributed a hand out that showed the reasoning behind the rate increase and what the new rates would entail. Preece explained each item listed on the hand out as the meeting continued.
One area of the handout showed additional revenue needed. “That additional revenue needed is where we are in terms of covering our debt services as well as having coverage for Senate Bill 234. That is required now,” Preece said.
Senate Bill 234 went into effect June 12, 2015. To comply with the statutory requirements of Senate Bill 234, a city must maintain a cash working reserve. This allows the city to build an emergency revenue fund and enables the city to have money for repairs in case of an emergency.
“We need to increase our revenue $13,656 to accommodate the changes and the money that we need. Quite honestly, that is what it is all about,” Preece explained. Preece continued saying, “At the bottom of the page you can see the computations that we went through to get to where the charges are per thousand gallons. “
At the last council meeting, the council had made a motion to set the minimum bill at 3,000 gallons. Using updated numbers, Preece asked that the council amend the motion. “The thing I want to bring up to you, is when we look at this, bear in mind that we do not want hurt our people any more than what we have to with utility cost. We have taken the liberty to show you what the minimum bill will be at 2,000 gallons, 2,500 gallons and 3,000 gallons. If you will council, consider again the minimum gallons that you want to bill our customers for,” Preece said.
Councilman Mark Sizemore asked, “Did you find out where the majority of our customers fall gallon wise per month?”
Preece responded saying, “Our average consumption is around 3,200 per month. I will be the first to admit that I am not as cautious as I should be when it comes to water. I think once people realize the value of what they are letting go down the drain, I think they will be more conscious when they turn the spigot on. With that being said, no one wants to raise rates. ”
Councilman Joe Crum made a motion to start the minimum bill at the cost listed for 2,000 gallons. The motion was seconded and the vote was unanimous.