By REBECCA HAZEN
The Dade County Water and Sewer Authority voted to increase water rates by three percent to start March 1.
During the December meeting, the authority looked at different rate increases in order to be in compliance with bond ratios. An eight percent, 10 percent and 20 percent increase was looked at.
It was determined to increase the rates by a lower margin, and rely on the meter replacement program to bring in more revenue.
“Our meter replacement program will be completely done within the next six months. This was designed to be able to get us get the revenue in for the water we are pumping out,” Sherri Walker said during the Jan. 26 meeting.
Walker continued, “Our meters are so old, we are changing them daily, just trying to keep up with usage.”
“It’s good to try. I hope the meters do what they are supposed to do, and we don’t need any more than that,” Vice Chair Harvey A. McKaig said.
It was noted that this increase is for water rates alone. The city of Trenton is in charge of determining sewer rates.
In other news, authority members voted to reelect Eddie Cantrell as Chairperson, Harvey A. McKaig as Vice Chair, and Travis Daniel as Secretary.
Walker reported that letters of award have been sent to low bid contractors so they can begin obtaining bonds and executing contracts. The contracts are for water main upgrades, meter replacement, raw water and Sand Mountain pump station upgrades, and water tank rehabilitation.
It was also noted that at the recent Dade County Commission meeting, $145,900 was approved in SPLOST funds for the Emergency Community Water Assistant Grant (ECWAG) project. The authority had to purchase property on Slygo Road in order to connect to the pump station.
“This is great because now we can take care of this quite quickly,” Walker said.
Authority member William Pullen Jr., suggested bringing the Authority’s monthly information to the Dade County Commissioners, to be read at their monthly meetings. The authority members agreed that this was a good idea.
Authority members also asked attorney Robin Rogers to work with the state legislature to remove the provision from the act requiring the authority to have meetings at the Commissioner’s room. The authority would like the option to have their meetings at the authority office at 250 Bond Street.
Elizabeth Zeller presented the financial report. Income was $297,304.29 for the month of December. Total expenses for December were $311,213.54, which was a loss of $13,909.25.
“If you look at the expenses, you will see that liability insurance is up, which is why we had a loss,” Zeller said.
The board processed 6,172 payments for December.
After an executive session, the Board voted to hire Sherri Walker as the general manager, effective Feb. 1.
The authority also announced they hired an attorney to help with the upcoming reservoir project.
The next Water and Sewer Authority meeting is Feb. 23.