Possible rate water and sewer rate increase - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Possible rate water and sewer rate increase

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) -

Raising the rates for water and sewer services. It's something Fredericktown city leaders say is necessary, but people paying the bills don't necessarily agree.

Fredericktown Mayor Mark Tripp sent a letter to residents saying the city needs more revenue to balance the budget. A budget that would be used to make updates to the city's water system.

"It's just aggravating when you try to cut back and it goes somewhere else," said Harvetta Sutton, a Fredericktown resident.

"I don't think it's fair," said James Miller, another Fredericktown Resident.

But Fredericktown Utility Manager and Assistant City Administrator Stan Gilliam says the possible rate increase is about being safe.

"A lot of the original water pipes were cast iron, and they're not like they are today, they're unlined which allows the water to interface with the wall of the pipe which causes corrosion," said Gilliam.

Gilliam said in order to update the infrastructure, and meet new EPA and Missouri Department of Natural Resources water treatment standards, the city needs money to make the changes. He said more than $4.5 million over the next 15 years.

In order to do this, Gilliam says they are proposing to add an extra $10 onto water bills, and $11 on sewer services.

"I just think this is a really big jump especially for a lot of the older people on minimal fixed incomes," said Sutton.

"Well you take $21 more a month out of your income you've got $21...less to spend," said Miller.

It's money citizens like Miller and Sutton say might drive people right out of town.

"If you are out of the city, it seems like you have more options with well and septic and all that," said Sutton.

"Well I would consider selling my house," said Miller.

Gilliam says something has to be done now. He says the first deadline is October 2013. At that point, they have to use a different disinfectant on the water instead of chlorine.

Gilliam says they should know within the next couple weeks if the city council approves the rate increase.

"Because of the age of the system, we're reaching the point that we've got to do something," said Gilliam.

There will be an open public forum Thursday September 22, 2011 at 7:00pm at Follis' Place on West Main.

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