Water rate hike issued; Up over 32 percent in five years
June 1, 2011 - The price of a shower these days is premium with another water rate hike effective today from West Wilson Utility District.
Last year's rate hike more than tripled from 2009 when the increase was 3.90 percent. In 2010, the rate increased a whopping 14 percent in 2010. If that's not enough, the rate will hike another 3 percent June 1.
Over the past five years, water rates over the minimum bill of $30 have increased 32.4 percent. Along with these hikes, WWUD Public Information Officer Tom Faulk confirmed other fees will increase as well. Connection fees increase from $35 to $40 and bad check fees increase from $20 to $25. Users will now pay $1.74 per 1,000 gallons, up from $1.69, said Faulk.
Faulk said the annual increases stem from rising costs across the board and recent projects, including all the work associated with the North Mt. Juliet Road widening project.
"We've had to spend well over $1 million in upgraded lines," he said.
And because "fire protection is a serious issue with folks today," other water lines are being upgraded to a 6-inch diameter to allow for fire hydrant water flow, said Faulk.
Fire hydrants will be added as well in the areas of Nonaville, Weeping Elm and Saundersville roads. Another $2 million will be spent on putting in a line from the water plant on Saundersville Ferry Road to the main station. He said much money was spent on the Hwy. 109 project as well.
"As you know, all things are going up," he said.
Faulk noted that WWUD employees have not had a pay increases, while there have been severe cuts in pension contributions and severance pay.
"We are trying to do our part here," he said. "Some districts have gone up 60 to 70 percent."
If the company is in the red three consecutive years, they must go before the Tennessee Utility Management Board and "they will then set the rates," said Faulk.
The rates are approved by the three person board, which consists of Jim Hunter, Earl Beaty and Jimmy Tate.
In 2009, 13 local businesses were slapped with back sewer bill charges of up to $32,000, with some going back over a two year-plus period to when some of their businesses first opened. The problem stemmed from West Wilson Utility under-billing the businesses because of a meter coding mistake.
Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 758-2277 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org