Residents might pay more for water

By Brandon Evans | Published Sunday, August 22, 2010

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Boyd water consumers will likely face higher usage rates in the near future.

“In my opinion, water and wastewater should stand on its own,” said Boyd Mayor Brent Wilson.

“It should be, but it never has been,” said council member Lenard Reynolds.

For the upcoming fiscal year, Boyd must transfer approximately $80,000 from its general fund to the water and sewer fund to balance the account.

Wilson acknowledges that most municipalities subsidize their water and sewer budgets with money from the general fund, but he wants to see Boyd close the gap.

About the only way to do that is to increase water rates. The city last raised rates in 2006. Residents are concerned about the rates going up again, especially in this economy.

“I get hammered all the time from people worried about water going up,” Reynolds said. “But it would be good if it could stand on its own.”

The city has approximately 550 water/sewer accounts. Less than 100 are commercial users. What’s more, most users, approximately 60 percent, use less than 4,000 gallons per month.

Wilson said he’s not sure how much rates need to increase, but it’s an issue the council will continue to discuss.

The water and sewer department is facing additional costs this year due to water purchases. The city has budgeted $120,000 to purchase water from Walnut Creek Special Utility District during the upcoming year. That’s an increase of $83,000.

In June, the council voted 3-2 in favor of replacing Boyd’s groundwater with purchased surface water. The argument against Boyd’s groundwater was that it has a salty taste and damages appliances. The change worried residents that the rate would increase.

“A lot of people have lost their jobs or live on fixed incomes,” said longtime resident Gail Haynes. “This town is full of older people who might not be able to pay if they raise the bill. They’ll have less money for food and medicine.”

Wilson said an increase of $13 across the board to water/sewer rates would go a long way, but he doesn’t want to go that high, especially for residents who are conservative in their water usage.

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