| By John Howell
City engineer Blake Mendrop and Warner McBride of Mendrop-Wages and McBride Engineering, meeting with the Batesville Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday, presented results of a water user rate study that could lead to a decision to increase the cost of water to city water customers.
Mendrop made the study at the request of city officials who are trying to eliminate a deficit created by the cost of operating the water and sewer department.
The engineer’s study projected rate adjustments that would eliminate a shortfall of approximately $250,000 annually.
The mayor and aldermen discussed the study but took no action Tuesday on an increase.
Under the proposal, the combined water and sewer rate for a residence inside city limits would rise from $10.03 to $12.03 for the first 2,000 gallons of monthly usage. For a residential customer outside city limits, the rate would increase from $10.96 to $16.03 for the same usage. Commercial customers would increase from $10.03 to $14.03.
Usage rates for 5,000 gallons would increase from $30.25 to $33.75 for residential city customers and from $31.60 to $39.85 for residential customers outside the city. Commercial users at the same volume would increase from $30.25 to $36.20.
For 10,000 gallons, rates would change as follows: $63.95 to $69.95 for inside city residential, $63.95 to $75.95 for outside city residential, $63.95 to $73.15 for commercial.
"We’re just trying to break even," Mayor Jerry Autrey said, following discussion that the only other option to make up a $250,000 annual deficit in water and sewer department operations was a tax increase.
"I’d rather raise water; at least you have the option of using less," Alderman Bill Dugger said.