City seeks citizens’ rate drop on sewer

Request is for a 10 percent decrease

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RED BAY | Red Bay residents could soon see a rate decrease on their monthly water bill as Mayor Charlene Fancher and the City Council approved a measure to seek a rate reduction from the Sewer Board.

Fancher asked the Council to join her in the request to the Sewer Board during last week’s City Council meeting. 

“We’re going to request a decrease by 10 percent from the five-year plan schedule of the Water Department,” Fancher said. “The Sewer Department has benefitted from the increase in water rates because sewer is 80 percent of the water bill.”

Fancher said while the city has been able to accomplish several things with the increased revenue, it’s time to cut citizens and businesses a break.

“Yes, it has helped the sewer department on its revenues,” Fancher said. “Sewer has been able to do many more projects because of this increase in revenue. There have been a lot of improvements made in the department. I’m saying this to say that I ask the City Council to join me in asking the Sewer Department because we can do this. We’re at a point where we can live with a 10 percent decrease.”

The request comes as the Water Department recently entered the third year of its five-year plan to adjust water rates in the city.

“It’s going to be the same revenue as we received last year; we’re not going to be hurting in the Sewer Department,” Fancher said. “So, I believe it’s time we gave our citizens, commercial businesses and industries a break. Very, very few times do you hear of a utility giving a credit or decrease in rates. I believe we can be just fine living on 70 percent of the water bill.”

Councilman Jason Vinson liked the sound of the proposal.

“I think it’s a good thing for our citizens,” Vinson said. “They need a break. The costs of other things have gone up over the years and anything that will help them with the water rates going up is good.”

Fancher was to make the request during last week’s meeting of the Sewer Board after the Council approved the measure.

In other action, the Council:  

  • Approved a Proclamation #2020.01.22, regarding human trafficking.
  • Approved an ordinance #2020.01.22, an ordinance amending the salary for the mayor and council members. This has to be done in February of the year there will be municipal elections and does not affect the current council.
  • Discussed Municipal liability insurance renewal.
  • Discussed a resolution for Alabama State Retirement Tier II Conversion on qualifying city employees but did not take action on the matter. The city has until May to make a decision.
  • Discussed vacating an alley between 4th Avenue South East residences 510 -514 and 5th Avenue South East residences 509-515 and set a date for a public hearing on the matter.
  • Approved the wording on a resolution #2020.01.06A, for vacating an alley located between 7th Avenue SW and 3rd Street SW.
  • Denied a request for a donation to support the Franklin County Branch of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund due to the legalities of the city making such donations.
  • Tabled a decision on Jacqueline Parsons’ five-year term on the Education Committee expiring on February 15, 2020.
  • Approved a request by 1st United Methodist Youth Group for a March 14, 2020 roadblock.
  • Approved a roadblock request from Teresa Lawler in September 2020, with all proceeds benefiting Jr. Jude.

In the way of school expenditures, the Council approved:

  • 503-505: $200 per teacher per grade for the fourth-grade teachers request to take their students trip to Montgomery.
  • 506-507: Fourth Grade class Scholastic magazines, for Common Core curriculum not covered in their history or science books. $96.38 and $92.68 for two classrooms.
  • 508: $500 toward purchase of laptop for Jacqueline Parsons for use in workshops, professional development training, etc. She will also be requesting the assistance of the Franklin County Community Development Commission.
  • 509: Kindergarten teachers requesting help on 18 walking chairs, six for each classroom, at a cost of $1,043.82.
  • 510: Request from Elementary Principal Leigh Burks, $1,100 to help with costs associated with 22 teacher use of copiers ($50 per teacher).
  • 511: Mrs. Robinson, Kindergarten, tablets used in math, $149.98. 

 The next regular scheduled meeting of the Red Bay City Council will be Monday, Feb. 3.