Headlines Cont. – 9/1/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 1, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – September 1, 2006


Sardis leaders edge closer to water rate hike
Average bill could see $8 increase
By Jason C. Mattox

Residents in the City of Sardis should be prepared for an increase in their water bill beginning in October, although the exact amount is not yet known.

City Clerk Odessa Johnson said at a budget hearing Monday that the city needed to generate a total of $45,000 from the water fund during the upcoming year.

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"It doesn’t match the percent of increase we were advised to make, but it is a number that I believe is fair," she said referring to percentages recommended by Tom Abernathy of Mississippi Rural Water Association.

The city’s present water rate is a base of $12.55 per month and $3 for each 1,000 additional gallons.
Alderman-at-Large Roy Scallorn asked Johnson if she had plugged any figures into the computer program left by Abernathy last week to provide solid projections.

"I have not had time this week," she replied.

Scallorn said he knows the city has several "stuck" water meters.

"We know we have some stuck water meters out there," he said. "So, if we just go up on the overage we won’t see any additional revenue.

"We need to see an increase that is fair to all of the people in the city," Scallorn added.

Scallorn suggested increasing water rates to generate $60,000 in revenue.

"We don’t ever know when we are going to need to repair or replace a well, and we are going to need to have some money tucked away for a rainy day," he said.

The most likely scenario Scallorn suggested would increase the base bill to $14 for water ($7 for sewer) and overage to $4.20 per 1,000 gallons.

That would make the average bill in the city limits $34.18 from approximately $26.

"I don’t suggest going with a higher number because you do have some of our residents who are on a fixed income, and we don’t want to be hard on them," he said. "An increase of around $8 per month is a figure that everyone can handle."

There will be no increase in garbage collection fees during the coming year.

The water rate increase was scheduled to be voted on last night.

In other board business:
Aldermen determined there would be no across the board pay increase for city employees. Individual pay increases will be at the discretion of the board.
Planning commission updated on development
By Rupert Howell

A preliminary sketch for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the intersection of Eureka and Woodland Roads in east Batesville was presented to the Batesville Planning Commission at the August meeting Tuesday night.

Dr. David and Pat Ball are planning to develop the property that includes 44 one-half acre lots on a square with two areas on the east side of Woodland for condominiums in multi-family areas.

The pre-application conference requires no action of the board, but provides input for the commission.
Accompanying the Balls was engineer Bobby Moore who explained that the development was still a work in progress and that the owners wanted to meet with the planning commission to ask and answer questions before proceeding.

Dr. Ball said he envisioned tennis courts, a swimming pool and a jogging track. The development would have limited access with one entrance with Ball mentioning a guard house for the purpose of housing a digital camera to record traffic through the proposed development.

"We want to have limited access so that people would have a sense of security," Ball said.

A planned unit development offers developers more flexibility with more control over regulations and setbacks. The development would still have to be approved by the Planning Commission.

In other business, Nell Foshee and Barbara Broome were reelected chairman and vice-chairman of the Batesville Planning Commission and new member Rev. Terry Townsend was welcomed to his first meeting.

Townsend replaces Catherine Hyde who formerly served on that board. Commission members are appointed by the board of aldermen.

Members other than Foshee, Broome and Townsend are Brad Clark, Charlie Dulany, Everette Redd, Louverda Miles, Billy Downs and Barbara Bruce. Pam Comer is planning commission secretary and Thomas Burnett is code enforcement officer.


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