Council to consider water rate increase of 15 percent

The Crossett City Council has tasked City Attorney James Hamilton with drafting a resolution that will increase water rates if adopted. The 15 percent increase will make the average water bill go up by $5 monthly, water commission representatives said. The council will consider the resolution at next month's meeting. (FILE PHOTO)

The Crossett City Council voted Jan. 26 to have City Attorney James Hamilton draft a resolution for a water rate increase.

Greg Sivils, who appeared before the council as the water commission’ representative, told the council that an increase in expenses and overall increases in the cost of living over the past few years necessitated the rate bump.

During the discussion, a proposal that raised the rates in increments was presented.

The first rate increase, which was for 15 percent, would make the average customer's bill go up approximately $5 per month.

The council members agreed that an increase was needed in order to maintain the water operations, but the council members didn't agree to two increases.

They instead moved to put an increase in place now with plans to re-evaluate to see if a second increase is needed later. The increase of 15 percent will be drafted and taken before the council next month in the form of a resolution.

Water rates have not been increased in five years.

In other news:

-Mayor Crystal Marshall presented a code of ethics to the Crossett City Council members for approval. The code would be something all council members would be expected to abide by.

Five council members voted in favor of the code, while councilman Cary Carter voted against it.

-Mike Chilsolm was reappointed to the water commission.

-The council approved the annual water audit as presented by the Crossett Water Commission.

-Councilman CT Foster, Councilman James Knight and Marshall were recognized by the Arkansas Municipal League for completing enough continuing education requirements to remain certified with the AML.

-The council agreed to keep its meeting structure the same for the year 2021. Meetings will remain on the third Monday of every month.

-The council adopted two resolutions to honor citizens who have served Crossett.

One was for Clerk Jesse Wathall, who recently retired after 22 years of service. The other was for former Councilman Dale Martinie. 

-The council voted to advertise for bids for the ladder fire truck. The city is selling its old truck after receiving a new ladder truck last year.

The mayor recommended that the minimum bid be set at $30,000, but the council voted for the minimum bid to be set at $35,000.

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