Water and sewer rate hikes to be voted on at next council meeting

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

It is official. The city of Thayer will be raising its water and sewer rates.

In a special meeting held on Monday June 23, the Thayer City Council unanimously decided to bring up a 50 percent increase in water prices, and 25 percent hike in sewer rates at its next regular meeting to be held on July 8. If these ordinances are approved, the rate for water will increase from $3.25 per 1,500 gallons to $4.88. The sewer rate will increase from $7.02 to $8.77. Both rate hikes will require new city ordinances and won't take effect until those ordinances are in place, most likely in August or September. This will be the first water rate hike in the city since 1995. The rate will put Thayer more on par with other municipalities in the area, as Alton charges $10.63 for 2000 gallons, while Mammoth Spring has a rate of $11 for 1500 gallons.

The council also approved the proposed budget for the city during the meeting. Overall, the city budget will increase by $42,232.42, to a total of $3,809,572.67. The report details that there was an increase of $31,955 collected through the general sales tax compared last year to this year. Areas within the budget to be increased include the general fund, which will increase by $31,019.92 and the electric department, which received a $47,690 budget increase. Other departments to receive a budget increase are the police and cemetery.

Losers in the budget distribution for next year are the water and sewer department, which is being reduced by $18,350 and the trash division, which loses $20,100 over the next year. The proposed rate hikes for the water and sewer service in the city is in direct response to the loss of revenue seen over the past year. The street department fund was lowered due to a drop in the state gas tax money derived from sales of gasoline within the city and a fluctuation in court fines assessed by the city.

Also discussed at the meeting was the idea of the Thayer Police Department beginning an officer reserve program. Thayer hasn't had an active reserve program in place for several years. Chief Childers would like to add a group of reserve officers to "increase safety and to provide additional support to our patrol officers." The council will address the issue further once the department sets up its guidelines for a program.

The council also decided to put two diesel generators owned by the city up for bid. The first is a 30KW 3 phase capable, while the other is a 60KW 3 phase capable unit. Both generators are functional and were purchased from a federal surplus program. The buyers would have to arrange transport of the units, and they are being offered as is.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Thayer City Council will be on Tuesday, July 8 at 7 p.m. at city hall. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

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