Marion council OKs water rate hike

Funds from increase to pay for new filter plant

By Mark Randall news@theeveningtimes.com

Marion residents will be paying about $7 a month more for water. The city council approved raising the water rates in order to pay for a $2.5 million water filtering plant. Residents will now be paying $5 for the first 2,000 gallons or $1.50 more; $1.15 for the next 5,000 gallons or 30 cents more from the old rate; and $1.05 for anything over 5,000 gallons — also an increase of 30 cents. The city has 5,200 water customers. The rates were based on the need to cover the $27,000 a month it will take to pay back the loan on the filter plant. The water and sewer committee studied other options at the request of Councilman Kelly O’Neal such as doubling fees on reconnections, returned checks, and transfer requests, as well as adding $1 fee per month on the water meters, but the revenue would not be enough to meet the city’s needs. The city only has 75 to 80 reconnect requests per month and charges $15 for the service, and about 12 transfer requests per month which they charge $5 for, and only 10 bad checks a month. O’Neal also suggested moving the water department to a city-owned building in order to save $1,000 a month on rent. Mayor Frank Fogleman said doubling those fees would only bring in about $1,900 a month. “I gave everyone a chance to discuss going with doubling the fees and to ask questions, but there wasn’t an interest in doing that,” Fogleman said. The rate increase passed 5-1 with O’Neal casting the lone no vote.

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