Jasper votes water increase to stay ahead of losses

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The Water and Sewer Board of the Town of Jasper, which is composed of the alderman and mayor of the town, has voted to raise water rates for the first time in seven years. Even with the increase, the town’s prices are well below adjacent water system’s cost to consumers.

Mayor Paul Evans said in the meeting, “As you know in our latest [audit report], Paul Johnson was talking about the loss on our water.” Johnson being the primary accountant with Johnson, Murphy and Wright which was the group that conducted the town’s audit this past fiscal year. Evans extrapolated on the people included in the preparation of the rate increase including Gary Cosby with CTI Engineers and town employees. Evans then announced the proposal. “It’s an increase, just on the minimum bill, of one dollar on the town residents and four dollars outside the town. It will bring in $228,000,” Evans said. “The proposed increase would also bring transfer and connection fees from ten dollars to twenty five dollars to reimburse our costs on those actions.” The recent audit showed a $194,000 shortfall in actual operating expenses versus revenue.

The shortage in operating capital for two fiscal years in a row could lead to the State of Tennessee taking over the water operations and setting the rates as they see fit. With that reality looming, the board voted to accepted the rate changes without dissent.

The new rates will take effect on July 1, 2017. The new rates will be:

Inside Town Limits            Outside Town Limits

0-2000 Gallons (Minimum Bill)        $7.00                                $15.50

Over 2000 Gallons                          $3.00/1000 Gallons           $4.25/1000 Gallons

Transfer and Connection fees will be $25

In a followup interview, Mayor Evans pointed out, “This really only amounts to twelve dollars for people inside the town limits and forty eight dollars for people outside the town per year…so some people won’t even really notice as it’s spread out over the year’s billing.”