Hayneville council hears details of possible water rate increase

Published 7:03 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The public failed to show for a public hearing held by the Hayneville Town Council last Thursday for a proposed water rate increase to help fund a new water well near the Tyson water tank.

With only former mayor Helenor Bell, current Mayor Kelvin J. Lawrence, Mayor Pro Tem David Daniel, and Project Manager Will Barrett and Office Manager Russell Moore of Constantine Engineering present, the purpose of the proposed $2.50 base rate increase on residential and commercial water customers was explained.

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Lawrence said the rate hike would raise the residential base water rate from $20.37 to $22.87 per month and raise the commercial base water rate from $42.43 to $44.93 per month.

Moore said the increase would go into effect on Jan. 1 if approved by the town council.

Lawrence said the increase was due in part to a grant awarded to the town, which Moore said includes Environmental Protection Agency funds administered through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

Lawrence said the town is required, however, to come up with 50 percent of the cost of the well project. And through studies with engineers, he said, it was determined that a rate increase of $2.50 would meet ADEM criteria.

“We are excited to get this,” said Bell, who added that it was the third attempt to get the grant.

She also said she was appreciative of partners at the federal level, Lisa P. Jackson EPA administrator, as well as ADEM for looking out for Hayneville in allowing Hayneville to put another well on its system.

Bell said the new well will be located near the Tyson tank and will service industrial area there, as well the Flying J and water customers in Letohatchee.

She said those customers are being serviced from Hayneville, but a well out there will take the pressure off the well in Hayneville.

“We have not had a rate increase for some time, and we feel like $2.50 is practical at this time,” Bell said. “And we do appreciate the Hayneville Town Council and mayor for this effort.”

Barrett said the new well would pump 200 to 300 gallons per minute. He said to pump water from the well in town to the other side of the town limits and up the interstate costs a lot of energy, “so the tank out there fills incredibly slow because of pressure problems.”

He said this well would be located under the Tyson tank and will “fill that tank immediately and with much less energy and ensure much more consistent high pressures.”

Barrett said the total cost of the well project is just under $800,000 and the $2.50 per month rate increase will service the loan and provide for operational and maintenance expenses.

Lawrence said the new well would insure the water supply. He said when one well goes out, the town would have a back up to assure a minimum down town and provide the customers and citizens of Hayneville with necessary water.

“It is a very good thing even though it may put an initial burden on the citizens,” he said.

He said he hoped the citizens would get together and embrace this effort for what he called a good cause.

The rate increase will have to be approved by the Hayneville Town Council before it goes into affect.