Be careful about fee

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, February 16, 2016

No one wants to pay taxes. And no city official wants to levy any. If there is a dispute about that, see how a few years ago the Lawrence County Commissioners refused even to put a public service levy on a ballot to let the people decide if they want to support EMS and 911 dispatching with their tax dollars. And don’t even think about coming up with money for a new jail.

So the Coal Grove Village council members should proceed with great caution about removing the $5 utility user fee on each water bill for everyone who lives within the village limits. The fee has been imposed since 2010 and brings in approximately $90,000 a year for the village coffers. It came about after the Environmental Protection Agency said the village’s revenue was too low. EPA advised that either a fee should be imposed or water rates should be hiked. All of that money goes into the capital improvement fund, which is used for maintenance of the water system including cleaning the well and buying parts.

Those are vital needs for the village’s water system. Yet currently council is considering removing that fee entirely. A flat rate fee is the fairest way to bring in revenue because water consumption cannot always be regulated at individual households.

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Because of that, council was wise to table the resolution removing the fee and give that action more consideration. Once it is off, it might be harder to get it back on.