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Water rates set to increase in city

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

City of Chiefland residents will be paying more for water in the next couple of months for the first time since 2011.

The commission, in a 4-0 vote, approved raising the rate at Monday night's regularly scheduled commission meeting.

"As much as I don't like to do it ... I make a resolution" to raise rates, said Commissioner Sammy Cason.

Residential base water rates will be going from $8.18 to $8.50, with a charge of $2.91 per thousand gallons up to the first 6,000 gallons used, which is a 34 cent increase per thousand gallons. The increase becomes effective in October.

Commercial users will have a new base rate of $13, a 32 cent increase, and will be paying $3.08 per thousand gallons for the first 6,000 gallons used, a 36 cent increase. Rates will go up next month.

Staff predicts that the move will bring an additional $36, 718 in revenues for the city over the next year.

The fees are based on a study that was commissioned several years ago. Fees have not been raised since 2011.

 

In other matters:

• The commission tabled a vote on applying for a "Highway Beautification" grant from the Florida Department of Transportation potentially worth up to $100,000.

The grant, according to City Manager Kevin Gay, would go toward welcome signs and decorative plants in the median and sides of the road on U.S. 19 and Highway 27.

Hudson said he was for replacing signs, but against having to maintain plants in the future.

The commission asked that FDOT provide more information about who would be responsible for the plants' maintenance before a decision was made.

 

• Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of rejecting several bids for a sewer rehabilitation project submitted in June.

All bids were more than $1 million, which, according to Gay, was more than double the amount offered in the grant that would pay for the project.

Some of the bidders resubmitted bids, Gay said, but they were still too high.

The project will be re-bid.

 

Commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of forgiving a loan the city made to itself in order to purchase Christmas lights a couple of years ago. The item came up for discussion as part of a proposal to re-advertise the city's amended budget for the upcoming year that takes into account grants, costs for a recent mold repair at City Hall, fire department and industrial park fund forgiveness, "as well as other unanticipated expenses."

The remaining balance on the lights is about $19,000. Staff says the city will spend less money by forgiving the loan to itself.

Hudson, who voted against the motion, said "That's what happens when you borrow money from yourself. I should never have voted for Christmas lights."