Water bills could appear in Russellville resident mailboxes for the first time ever as early as June, town council members have announced.
Town Council president Sally Spencer McAfee said at the board's meeting that the town had acquired new billing software which could be in use once several pieces of local legislation are voted in at the council's May 11 meeting.
This will mark the first time residents have ever received bills mailed to their homes. With no meters to gauge customer usage, town residents in the past have simply stopped by the office once a month to pay the flat fee.
First reads of two ordinances and a resolution to amend a previous town code were given at the meeting Thursday, April 13. All of the local laws deal with water billing, fees and administration.
One of the new codes, Ordinance 2006-1, establishes a three-member water board for the town, with the Russellville council members serving in its three seats.
After the meeting, McAfee said she would not specify why the board had been established.
However, there has been some recent controversy surrounding management of the utility in Russellville, and at the March meeting, McAfee had the town hall computer removed from the office and taken to her home.
At the meeting Thursday, the board also approved McAfee to be bonded to accept money for the utility.
The ordinance, which is scheduled for a vote on May 11 reads, "The Russellville Water Board, consisting of the three Council members, will assume its specific responsibilities and supervisory powers for personnel, property, contract and finances of the utility as soon as the ordinance becomes law."
Another ordinance will establish rates for the town. The monthly fees have been raised in recent months due to the anticipation of major work on the water utility.
Later in the year, the town will apply for state grants and loans to fund part of the project which will include construction of a new water tank, main water lines and water meters. The raised rates will cover the matching part of the grant.
In May, the council will vote on Ordinance 2006-2, which sets residential rates at $52.51 per month.
At the meeting, some residents questioned whether rates would increase even more once construction work finally begins.
"I can't put my hand on the bible and say they will not go up, but no, they are not going to go up," McAfee told those present.
While residents will have to wait until further into the project before water to homes will be measured by a meter, commercial water customers such as the retirement apartments and the post office say they are thankful that they may soon receive the statements which will help when filing corporate paperwork.
A resolution establishing procedures for late payments, deposits and connection fees will also be voted on at the May 11 meeting.
The Russellville Town Council meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the town hall.