WEST ALEXANDRIA — The Village of West Alexandria will be discussing water and sewer rates during a work session to be held on Thursday, Nov. 29.
During a regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 19, Village Administrator Steve Weigold presented his proposal for water rates.
The water department is operating at a $42,000 deficit. Weigold is interested in raising the rates to make up that negative.
“One of the things that I think will help that deficit quite a bit, is a detailed analysis of where we’re spending money and looking at optimizations,” Weigold said. “Currently we have a rate set for $24.75 minimum charge for consumption up to 3,500 gallons. For consumption above 3,500 gallons, it is $2 per thousand gallons.
“The challenge that we have is, based on 2017 numbers, we have a $42,000 deficit that translates a little over $70 a year deficit per water customer. Doing the math on that, that translates to an increase of $5 a month per customer. Looking at distribution of usage of quantities of water, slightly over 300 of our 667 clients are in the 3,500 gallons and below quantity, so they are paying the minimum charge.
“My proposal is, that group absorb a roughly proportionate amount of that $5 monthly increase. I am proposing that we change the minmum charge to $29 even for in-village residents. A change to $3 per thousand for the water cost above 3,500 gallons. Across our distribution of customers, the change of the minimum charge against those clients would bring about $30,000 of the $42,000 that we’re currently operating in the red and the additional hours charged would bring more than enough to cover the rest.”
He added, the $42,000 deficit is last years number and the deficit is likely to be higher this year. The department has been operating at a varying deficit for approximately five years.
During the scheduled work session, increasing sewer rates will also be discussed.
Weigold has been working on making upgrades to the water plant, including the installation of LED lights.
His department has sought quotes from an alternative testing vendor. The new company will save a “massive” amount of money into 2020. This is one of the ways he intends to optimize the department and decrease that $42,000 deficit mentioned above.
EPA has finalized the specifics on their asset management program. The village will now have to make sure they are in compliance with the new requirements. Related to the EPA, the department got notification of violation for issues with chlorine readings back in July. According to Weigold, the water operator believes the readings were an issue because the ammonia in the water and the second reading the following day was a possible testing error.
Regarding the Waste Water Treatment Plant, the rates resolution should be approved by Dec. 18. USDA will not approve contracts or construction until that has been accepted.
A village Facebook page has been taken live, but is still in the pilot stage. Weigold intends this to be for information use only, so several kinks must be work out before posts are actively made.
Fire Chief Jeff Shafer reported, runs are up significantly from 2017. The Fire Association is also reaching out to a family in need to help with toys for the holidays.
Council also discussed changing an ordinance that will allow Chief Shafer to have three lieutenants, instead of only two.
The current ordinance states, the department is to have only two lieutenants. If the ordinance is changed, it will allow for the department to have a Chief, Assistant Chief, three Lieutenants, and two captains. This ordinance still has to be drafted and pass three readings before the change occurs.
The next regular West Alexandria Village Council meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 17, at 5:30 p.m. in the EMS building.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH