City to resume discussion of water rate hike

Friday, April 21, 2006

Greencastle residents wanting to know if their monthly bills for water and sewer service are going to go up may know more next week after city officials meet a second time to discuss the results of a recent study.

The Crowe-Chizek study found that in order for the utilities to keep up with expenses, monthly rates for customers may need to increase by 57 percent for water and 20 percent for sewer.

Representatives from the Greencastle City Council and Board of Works will convene at 6 p.m. Wednesday, at the water plant, to again go over the numbers and potentially work out a solution to the annual revenues that are continually falling short of expenses.

Mayor Nancy Michael told members of the Board of Works this week that she hopes that members of the committee will be able to come to a consensus at next week's meeting, but she realizes that it may take longer. She said she is planning to bring some recommendations of her own to the table.

According to the plan presented by Crowe-Chizek at a meeting earlier this month, the typical water customer (one using an average of 5,000 gallons per month) could expect to see a monthly rate increase from $13.83 to $21.71.

The same customer could see his or her monthly sewer rates rise from $30.06 to $36.07, according to the plan. Combining the two rates into one monthly bill, the typical customer's bill could jump from $43.89 to $57.78.

In other matters, the Board of Works learned this week that the city may be one step closer to purchasing property for a second waterworks facility on Greencastle's East Side.

Michael told fellow board members Sue Murray and Thom Morris that the city recently received completed appraisals for property along CR 100 East near Crowe's Bridge and Big Walnut Creek.

The mayor expressed a desire to schedule a closed meeting, or executive session, for the purpose of discussing the appraisals and potential purchase of that property.

The Board of Works gave every indication that it was going to purchase a different piece of property on that same road last April, but no deal was ever reached with the land owner.

As for this latest property, there is no word on when construction of a facility would begin if the land is actually purchased. The mayor has said the facility is needed to supplement the current water plant north of town and make way for future growth in the area.

In other business, the board approved contracts to repair and reconstruct several sidewalks in the city this summer.

The list of sidewalks to get a makeover includes:

-- Berry Street, from Putnamville Road to Locust Street (south side),

-- Bloomington Street, from Anderson Street to Hanna Street (west side),

-- Bloomington Street, from Seminary Street to Anderson Street (east side),

-- Jackson Street, from Jacob Street to Liberty Street (east side),

-- Jackson Street, from New York Street to Daggy Street (east side),

-- Jackson Street, from Seminary Street to Hill Street (east side).

The board set aside $25,000 for the project.

The Board of Works meets at 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at city hall. The meetings are open to the public.

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