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City Council Approves Ordinance to Increase Water Rates

March 20th, 2009 by

March 19, the City Council approved the amendment to Ordinance No. 493 to raise the city’s water rates, which have not increased since 2003. The update ensures the city can fund the maintenance of an adequate water supplies and distribution system for the safety and health of its citizens.

In last month’s meeting, Finance Director Kimberly Fletcher reported that the remaining $20,000 certificate of deposit in the Water Fund was cashed to cover expenses for January. The updated ordinance will address this issue and the government mandate for water providers to maintain an emergency fund of $100,000 per well.

The amendment to section 2 of the ordinance will establish a schedule of monthly water service rates and minimum monthly charges. The minimum bill within city limits totals $6.50, while the minimum bill outside city limits totals $9.73. The monthly water service rates include:

Gallons Used Rates in City Limits Rates Outside City Limits
per 1,000 gallons per 1,000 gallons
3,000 $1.59 $2.39
15,000 $1.25 $1.85
80,000 $0.97 $1.43
200,000 $0.85 $1.26
300,000 + $0.57 $0.81

The council also approved an ordinance to accept the Identity Theft Prevention Program in compliance with federal regulations. The ordinance addresses the need to safeguard customers’ personal information pertaining to water, sewer and garbage accounts. The council conducted meetings to identify potential areas where identity theft could take place and took preventative measures.

According to a note included with the ordinance, “customers’ information is safer now than it has been in the past, and (the council) will continue to make every effort to identify problem areas and take immediate action to correct them.”

The ordinance defines the processes that could potentially lead to identity theft and the red flags that should alert employees handling accounts to possible threats. As needed, the City Council will review the Identity Theft Prevention Program and any red flags listed, and update the program and flags to reflect changes in risks to customers, developments in new identity theft prevention or new methods of identity theft.

In other business:

- The council approved resolutions to authorize the mayor to apply for grants from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for the purchase of a tri-axle dump bed truck for the Street Department and a front-loading garbage collection truck.

- The council accepted a resolution to accept bids to purchase the front-loading garbage collection truck. The city accepted the bid of Downing Sales and Services for a high-compaction front-loading garbage truck for $186,580.

- Executive Director of the Monticello Economic Development Commission Truman Hamilton reported on current grants, including a Homeland Security grant for Title 6 funding to modify, upgrade or build fire departments. Monticello qualifies for a 90-10 or 80-20 match. Hamilton also reported that the grant for a tornado warning system was not funded.

- Glenda Nichols, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, announced that the Arkansas Scholars Presentation for the Monticello School District concludes March 20. They plan to conduct the program for Drew Central after spring break.

Upcoming events include:

- The opening ceremony for the boat dock at Lake Monticello will take place March 20 at 9:30 a.m. The dock is located on the access road of Highway 35 West.

- The Drew County Public Facilities Board and the Monticello Housing Authority will host a public meeting on affordable housing March 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce.

- The University of Arkansas-Monticello Intercollegiate Rodeo is scheduled for March 26-28 in Monticello.

- The Yard of the Month program will begin in April. According to Nichols, the Yard of the Month is just one aspect of the county’s beautification program.

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