The Carlisle City Council discussed the increase of water rates to fund additional city projects during its June 19 meeting.
Aldermen Todd Turner and Mike Walker were absent from the meeting.
Less than one year since the city’s previous water rate increase for water and sewer projects, the city is looking to increase rates again, to fund the purchase of radio read meters. The previous increase was for drilling of a new city well, painting of the water tower and repairs to the city oxidation pond.
During the meeting, City Engineer Jeremy Stone presented the Council with water rate increase options and information on a 10 year loan with a 0.5 percent interest rate through the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Total meter cost is estimated to be $413,500. The city’s monthly loan cost is estimated to be $3,641.28
In June 2017, the Council increase monthly water rates to minimum of $12.86 per month for the first 1,000 gallons used. For the next 38,000 gallons of water consumption per month, the charge will be $4.23 per 1,000 gallons. All water consumption exceeding 38,000 gallons per month will be $3.21 per 1,000 gallons.
Based on the 100 percent funding for the radio meter system at 0.5 percent interest, the city would require an additional increase of the minimum monthly residential bill of $1.20 and an additional $0.65 for the next 38,000 gallons and $0.18 for water consumption exceeding 38,000.
Public works superintendent David Walters II, said the radio read water meters would be extremely beneficial to the city. He said the amount of water loss by the city would be reduced, the need for six city workers to read meters two and half days per month would be eliminated and the amount of complaints received over water bills would significantly decrease.
Although the city’s cost appear to reduce significantly, for residents, the benefits appear to be only the ability to catch active water leaks and minimize human discrepancies.
Mayor Ray Glover said he will also be looking into applying for a grant to assist with the cost of the new meters.
In addition to the meters, the Council also reviewed an increase for a loan to cover the replacement or repair costs of 10 fire hydrants. The cost is estimated to be $50,000. Stone said the increase to residents would be $0.30-0.45 on their minimum monthly bill, depending on if the city chooses to go with a 20 or 40 year loan.
By a unanimous vote, the Council approved resolution 331, for the intent of the city to obtain funding for a new wireless meter system. In addition, the Council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute documents for the Safe Water Drinking loan program administered by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission.
In other business, Walter asked the Council for permission to outsource asphalting services. He said he has found a company that can provide better quality services for street patching at a lower cost than the city can complete the repairs themselves. In a unanimous vote, the Council approved for Walters to outsource asphalt patching services.
The next regularly scheduled Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. July 17 in the Civic Center.