Sewer rate decrease approved

City residents will get a break on their water bill after three years of rate increases.

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RED BAY | Water customers here will soon see a decrease in their bills thanks to a rate cut by the Sewer Board.

Mayor Charlene Fancher announced last week, following a request by her and the City Council and a meeting by the Sewer Board, that the 10 percent rate cut had been approved. This will help negate increases seen on customers’ water bills in January as the Gas & Water Department implemented the third year of its five-year rate restructuring plan. Sewer charges are currently 80 percent of the water bill, and that will be reduced to 70 percent. Senior Citizens will continue to see an additional 10 percent discount.

“I sincerely appreciate this joint effort of the City Council and Sewer Board to decrease sewer rates for our citizens, businesses and industries,” Fancher said. “The City Council and Sewer Board have shown in this endeavor that our job is to manage efficiently and effectively keeping our number one priority in mind and that is serving and helping our citizens.”

Fancher said the reduction should be reflected within 30 days, or “as soon as billing procedures can implement the decrease.”

Miscellaneous billing change

Another change coming to city Water & Gas customers will be no mor “miscellaneous billing” for services provided by the City. Those charges will now come on a separate bill as the Water & Gas Board has declined the city’s request to continue the billing practice.

 Mayor Fancher said the city is in the process of setting up its own system for this and the process will begin as soon as possible.

What remains to be seen now, though, is how the City will reconcile some $126,000 owed by the Water & Gas Board for in lieu of taxes that were supposed to be covered by billing credits the city never received. The matter has put a strain between the City and the Water Board members.