Hearing held on rate increase

Published 11:40 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Town of Phenix held a public hearing on Tuesday, April 11 to discuss the possibility of a proposed water rate increase for those who live in town who are on the water system.

About 20 people turned out for the hearing.

Phenix Mayor T. Franklin Dodd previously said the hearing would be the first opportunity for the public and the town council to gather information regarding the increase.

Dodd said it’s important the public understands the reasoning behind the change. “The main thing we’re debating over is getting people to understand the reason rates are going up,” he said.

He said the rates are going up due to maintenance costs associated with the water system.

“We have to put in some new piping in the ground,” Dodd said. “We need to replace it.”

He noted that since the water rates were initially changed, the cost of repairs has increased over the years.

Phenix officials said the last time the water rates changed was 2011.

Phenix Town Council Member Rodney Childress said initial talks about raising the water rates were first discussed late last year.

He said while the council didn’t vote on the issue during Tuesday’s meeting, the majority of citizens were against the idea of the water rates being raised.

The town is proposing to increase the water base rate to $45 for every 4,000 gallons per month — a $15 increase.

Water bills, based on the fees and usage, are paid every two months.

According to the town-issued public notice, there is currently a $30 base rate based on every 4,000 gallons every two months, which would increase to $45 under the proposal.

Additionally, there’s an existing $4 charge for every 1,000 gallons utilized over the allotted 4,000.

For new connections, a fee of $600 is currently charged and there is a $50 reconnection fee after the water is turned off.

While the water base rate could increase under the proposal, system users will see the same $4 charge for every 1,000 gallons over the 4,000-gallon base.

Additionally, the new connection and reconnection fees would remain the same under the proposed change.

“I’m kind of against the idea,” Childress said. “The reason I’m against the idea is that’s a lot of money.”