Water rate going up 48-percent in Frankford

To absorb substantial water revenue loss with Mountaire no longer its high-volume user, Frankford town council plans to implement a 48-percent hike in the town’s water rate.

FRANKFORD – Percentage-wise, water customers connected to the town of Frankford’s water system will be paying substantially more.

A proposed 48-percent water rate hike hovering over the town for about two years is expected to be implemented with passage of the town’s fiscal year 2018-19 budget, set for July 26.

Town council’s intention is to increase the rate from $8.75 per 1,000 gallons of water used to $12.68.

“That is our recommendation,” said Frankford town councilwoman Velicia Melson, council’s secretary/treasurer. “The water rate was voted to be increased to $12.68. Previous council passed that, but it has never been implemented. So, we will implement that increase.”

Actually, this increase was proposed two years ago to cushion a water revenue shortfall of upward of $75,000 annually with Mountaire no longer utilizing town water for operational needs at its feed mill plant on Daisey Street.

Town council in July 2016 approved a proposed 48-percent increase in the water rate. However, in September of that year town leaders tabled the second reading of that ordinance amid ongoing meetings with state and Mountaire. Issues have not yet been resolved.

Ms. Melson said the negative fiscal impact to the town with Mountaire no longer its highest volume user is approximately “70,000 to $75,000.

Mountaire, which typically had accounted for about one third of the town’s water usage, drilled its own well that went into operation in January of 2016.

Mountaire said the new well was needed because the town’s water system lacked high volume and pressure required for its chicken feed operation. That well became the focus of debate and a challenge by the town.

“We have approximately 350 water users,” Ms. Melson said. “Mountaire was our largest consumer. And without that it has really left the town in a financial bind, and we’re not able to produce water cost-effectively.”

During a recent budget workshop Ms. Melson said town council “was all in agreement that we needed to implement that rate to be financially responsible for the town.”

In addition, Ms. Melson said the council is recommending an increase in the town’s out-of-town user fees. “Those are typically $20 per billing cycle and that is going to $50 per billing cycle,” Ms. Melson said.

Out-of-town users are residences/people that are “not within the incorporated town limits but have the privilege of using our water system,” said Ms. Melson.

Frankford’s second budget hearing on the FY2018-19 budget is Thursday, July 26 at 6 p.m. at town hall on Main Street.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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