City to study summer sewer credit program
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 10:00 AM
Discussions of a summer sewer credit program were reintroduced at Tuesday's City Council meeting before being retabled for a pending rate study.
Under the credit program, the water department would take the average consumption for January through March and make that the customer's rate for June through August.
The idea behind the proposal, which is being sponsored by Councilman Jim Lee, is that by paying lower rates in the summer, customers can use additional water to beautify the city by watering plants and lawns, in addition to saving money.
"We are a community that thrives on the tourism industry, and I think it behooves us to that end," he said. Lee added that he also supports the measure because it provided a fairer and more equitable form of billing for residential customers.
The city last increased rates in 2010, when they went up 57.9 percent.
Brian Jackson, manager of the city's water department, looked at water usage by month for 90 customers within the city limits. He calculated that under the summer sewer credit program, customers would save a monthly of average $10.42.
Jackson acknowledged there could be a large margin of error in that number. The 90 customers who were used in the city's study account for 2 percent of the city's estimated 4,200 water customers.
"It could possibly be 50 percent more than that or 50 percent less than that," Jackson said before the meeting.
City customers would likely end up saving money. The estimated loss in monthly revenue would be $43,764 and the loss over the course of the summer sewer credit program would be $131,292.
Councilman Darrell Henderson said that though this may end up saving people money on their water bills, the city will have to make up the $131,000 deficit through some other kind of rate increase.
The individual breakdown by residence shows some homeowners would save an average of $50 a month during the summer. Other homeowners ended up using less water in the summer and would end up having to pay more than their average winter bill.
The first reading of the ordinance was held in September 2012, but was tabled so Lee could get more information about the rates and to better coincide with a rate study scheduled to begin in 2014.
In other business, the Council unanimously approved providing payment to compensate the six police dispatchers for sick days they will lose starting next year.
The move is part of the central dispatch consolidation effort, which is mandated by the state to take place prior to 2014.
When the police dispatchers make the switch, they will lose all sick days they have accrued through previous years at the department.
"This seems like a fair way to deal with that situation," Councilwoman Laura Hodges said.
The Council also held the first reading of an ordinance that would revoke any ordinances dealing with funds that are dormant.
By eliminating those ordinances, the following funds would no longer be needed:
The nonreverting fund for the maintenance of Michigan Road
The nonreverting fund for the maintenance of the Madison Family Service Center
Police dog committee fund
Meter division fund
Madison rental rehabilitation project fund
Home investment fund award
Home investment partnership project fund
Millennium project fund
Lincoln Presbyterian Program income grant fund
Madison-Jefferson County transit system fund
Arts Alive fund
Madison State Hospital reuse study fund
Turning Point grant fund
Madison beautification fund
City downtown golf course fund
Railroad clean-up fund
The finance committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 to discuss how certain funds should be redistributed. Those people have donated money in the past to funds now dormant. The committee will ask those who donated where they would like the money to be redistributed to.
In other business:
Streets Supervisor Doug Vest said leaf pickup is currently behind because one of the leaf vacuums is broken and they only have two that are operational. They anticipate getting it back up and running as soon as possible.
Police Chief Dan Thurston said he has been in contact with Madison Consolidated High School and the school resource officer will officially be in place at the start of the second semester of the school year.
Andrew Forrester, community relations assistant, told the Council that the FCC has ruled that the city's text notification system is not considered a marketing program, and all numbers that formerly received text alerts should be receiving them again.