What everyone calls the water bill is actually a services bill made up of a lot of different parts. It includes your water and sewer services, your garbage service and capital improvements.
Capital improvements concern the amount of debt service owed on the prior street paving project done within the City. There are essentially 3 ways for the City to pay for paving projects: set aside revenue to pay for the project; raise ad valorem taxes which will only affect property owners within the City; OR have a capital improvement assessment on the services bill which is assessed to everyone who has water service with the City. Those individuals primarily use the City's streets on a daily basis.
The assessment for capital improvements is normally $3.05 each month. This was not enough money to cover the cost of the debt service on the previous paving project and causing a shortfall in the budget. By increasing this section of the services bill by $5.00 each month, to $8.05 per month, the City does not have to cut any services or personnel which could reduce the quality of services the City provides.
We realize it is a difficult time presently for our citizens and everyone is hurting with the Covid-19 pandemic and LaZboy closing; however, this is an increase of less than $0.17 a day, $5.00 per month, to keep the City on good financial footing so that it can continue to provide and improve upon the services it provides its citizens.
As to how the vote was handled, the Board voted in executive session after extensive discussions of possibly reducing its personnel. The Board was not attempting to circumvent the open meetings act and only took up the issue in executive session to discuss having to potentially reduce personnel from one or more city departments due to a fiscal shortfall caused by not having sufficient funds to service the existing city debt.
Murray Weems, Mayor
Brian D. Mayo, City Attorney