According to John Bailey, interim chairman of the Water/Wastewater Commission, some sewer customers outside of city limits could see an increase in their bills in the near future. “We have two rates,” said Bailey. “We have a water rate and a sewer rate. The last increase we had was an increase on the water rate but we have not had a sewer increase in a long, long time.”
Bailey stated that the city currently charges a surplus fee on water users that are outside of city limits but there is no surplus charge for sewer users outside of town. This increase will add an additional 25 percent to the sewer for those customers.
“A majority of our users that are outside of city limits that use water do not use our sewer. We don’t have a lot that use both, but we do have some. Shadow Lake is probably the best example with around 80 percent using sewer and water with the remaining 20 percent that are on septic. So this will affect them the most and a few others.”
Another increase being considered by the commission is an increase in late fee charges. “The average water customer pays for water, sewer and sanitation,” said Bailey. “Generally when you are late, you are late on all three payments. But, we only charge a late fee on the water portion and so we are going to change that to 10 percent of the total bill.”
Bailey stated that this is a common practice with other communities in the area.
“We charge a tap fee when we bring a new customer on and we charge different people different prices,” said Bailey. “We are going to try and make that a little more uniform.”
Overdue bills for the water department are all disconnected on the same day. The commission will vote on whether to add and additional charge for reconnections in order to recuperate the money paid to water department employees that work into the evening on the disconnections. “We keep the officed people here late to take money and so we may start charging a surplus for that service because we pay our people overtime and we want to recoup some of those funds.”
Bailey stated that the city is financially strong and that he would like to see it stay that way. “We have some debt covenants,” said Bailey. “We have two pots of money; our service revenue and city sales and use tax and for some of our ratios we cannot count the sales and use tax and so we are getting weak on those ratios.” Bailey stated that does not want to see an overall increase on water rates.
“We want to provide the citizens of Greenwood with good service at a good price.”
Bailey presented the commission’s plans to the council at the February meeting and plans to vote on the measures at the February 25 meeting of the commission.
The Greenwood Water/Wastewater Commission consists of five members which are citizens who are qualified electors of the city of Greenwood or the area serviced by the Water or Wastewater System of the city of Greenwood. The Commission has the sole responsibility in running the water and wastewater system including the management of all employees, salaries, infrastructures, etc. The Commission presents monthly reports and annual audits to the Mayor and City Council and is responsible for submitting its proposed budget to the Mayor on an annual basis.