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Coal Grove water, sewer rates go up

COAL GROVE – A tie-breaking vote by this village’s mayor will equal higher water and sewer rates for residents.

Friday, March 22, 2002

COAL GROVE – A tie-breaking vote by this village’s mayor will equal higher water and sewer rates for residents.

The village council was split 3-3 on a vote last night that called for an increase in the water and sewer rate. The tie was busted when Mayor Tom McKnight placed his vote – which is required when there is a tie.

Water rates will increase to $3.25 per thousand gallons of water consumed and $4.50 per thousand gallons of sewer water with a $7.75 minimum bill. The water rate is a quarter-increase and a dollar-increase for sewer. This increase will also affect Hecla Water users.

Outside the village, residents who are village water subscribers will pay $4 per thousand gallons of water used with a $10 minimum bill.

Councilman Kenny Pyles, one of the three councilmen against the rate increase, said he wasn’t opposed to the rate increase as a whole, but opposed to the amount the rates increased. He said most of the village’s residents are on a fixed income and increases in their bills eats into their already limited budget. He added that he didn’t have a fixed amount for the increase, but he was open to suggestions.

If the increase wasn’t passed, Pyles speculated, council would have reentered workshop sessions, looking at ways to cut money. He said the final result would have probably equaled layoffs to the village’s employees.

McKnight said the village has applied several times for grant monies from the state to assist with the operation costs of the village’s water and sewer plants. The village has been turned down for the grants for the last three years.

In February, McKnight said the water and sewage enterprise funds have not generated enough money in fees in order to meet expenses. To compensate, he added, the village has transferred money out of the general fund in order to shore up the utility departments.

The village has not had an increase in utility rates since 1996.