Rutledge raises water fees
By Michael Prochaska
The Rutledge City Council voted last Thursday to adopt its 2013 fiscal year budget and a sustained millage rate of 3.734.
An increase in the city’s water rates saw opposition at the Monday, July 16 scheduled meeting by Rutledge resident and former city Public Works Superintendent Jimmy Vandiver.
Vandiver said that the water rates should have increased in five percent increments instead of this year’s 10 percent increase.
Consumers using the minimum of 0 to 2,000 gallons a month will have a water and sewer bill of $45.80, up from $43, or a $2.80 difference.
Consumers of 2,500 gallons will see an increase in $3.20 and consumers of 5,000 gallons will see a $5.20 increase.
City Clerk Debbie Rutherford said those numbers include a $15 garbage rate fee and that the garbage rate will not increase.
Vandiver said Rutledge could charge more on high-end users, which he defined as 4,000 gallons or more a month, and should have negotiated prices with the City of Madison in previous years.
About 66 percent of Rutledge’s water source comes from local wells, while a third comes from the City of Madison.
The City of Rutledge will put aside money from its share of Special Purpose Local Sales Tax (SPLOST) and fund balance for the production a new well, Rutherford said.
Of approximately 386 customers, the bulk of Rutledge’s water users are in the 2,000 to 4,000 gallon range, with 90.75 average users who consume up to 2,000 gallons a month and 78.58 average users who consume up to 6,000 gallons a month.
Former Council member Tom Strott said the water rates should not increase if the city could balance the budget on other revenue.
Rutledge Mayor Spencer Knight said that the city is currently losing money on the current rates and that the raise is a necessity to keep a balanced budget.
The last year Rutledge water customers saw an increase in fees was 2007.
Printed in the July 26, 2012 edition.