Monette water billing rate formulas downsizes

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Monette City Council Water Department Study Committee met Monday, Aug. 9, to review water billing and rate code formulas.

Present at the meeting were Monette Mayor Chub Qualls, Water Department Secretary Dana McKuin, meter reader Jerry Lamar, Water Department Commissioner Tom Carroll, and aldermen, Perry Wood, Dick Pace and Bob Blankenship.

Those present reviewed a list of overall customer rate formulas, which included water, sewer and sanitation, in an effort to delete antiquated rate formulas and simplify billing procedures for Secretary McKuin.

The committee reviewed the current list of 84 rate formulas and downsized them to 26, omitting duplications and outdated ones.

"We have come to know we had many rate formulas that we simply didn't need," Carroll said. "It is good to go over them and only keep the ones that are needed at this time. If we need to add new ones at a later date we can do so then."

"We want to equalize all the rates throughout the city," Wood said. "It is our goal that everyone should be paying the same rate. In the case of the Monette Housing Authority and Christopher Homes, water usage will be totaled and divided by the users. Any amounts over the minimum usage (2,000 gallons) will then be added as additional charges. This is what we have done in the past."

"In the case of BIC Schools, they have five meters, and all of these will continue to be read, and billed accordingly," he said.

"This will help us know when there is a leak or problem with the readings," Pace said.

"After the readings are turned in, I can have the bills ready to mail in one day," McKuin said.

The mailout dates for billing will be earlier each month in order for customers to meet due date deadlines on the first of the month.

McKuin expressed tax concern over the FSDWA fee collected on each meter. The committee concurred that the current rate collected was 30 cents per meter.

Computer Systems of Arkansas specialist Jason Burton has been working with McKuin to determine proper use of customer rate formulas. Changes in downsizing will be programmed into the city computer by McKuin.

Sanitation Chairman Woods expressed concern that all residences and businesses should be charged sanitation fees equally according to number of trash receptacles and dumpsters and frequency of collections per week and per month.

"We need standardization of all sanitation fees," Woods said. "We can take a close look at this and change dumping patterns if necessary."

The committee will also be working on establishing set amounts for re-connect fees, those done after hours, and transfer fees. Concerns over billing for personally owned trash containers were discussed, and charges for dual businesses at one address. These will be addressed at another date.

The mail out dates will be changed in order for customers to meet due date deadlines on the first of the month.

Any new changes in billing will be brought to the entire council during regular council meetings for discussion.

The next council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23, at city hall.

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