The Board of Aldermen heard the concerns of Collins residents regarding the city’s water and sewer rates and went to work to help them.
In the fall of 2015, the board voted to lower the usage of water by 1,000 gallons.
“Before, the rate was $14.00 for 3,000 gallons,” said City Clerk Suzette Davis. “In the fall the board voted to lower it to $14.00 for 2,000 gallons.”
But after hearing from residents who have attended the board meetings and receiving phone calls at City Hall, the Aldermen answered with a change in the rate.
“The board decided to go back to the old rate,” Davis added, “of $14.00 for 3,000 gallons of water.”
The city charges an additional $3.35 per 1,000 gallons thereafter.
As for the sewer, the rate is $11.00 for 3,000 gallons or less with an additional charge of $3.35 per 1,000 gallons over that. The board also adjusted the rate by 1,000 gallons.
While the change will help residents in the city, Davis noted that there was some shifting done within the budget to allow for the change.
“I don’t think people really realize what gets paid out of our water and sewer departments,” she said. “Each department stands on its own, and we have salaries and upkeep that must be paid in each department.”
With a budget amendment which will take place later this year, the city was able to move an employee from the sewer department to the street department.
“With that shift we were able to lower the rates,” Davis added.
The adjustment in the rates does not mean that it could not go back up as the city plans its budget for next year, according to Davis.
“We have to show the State of Mississippi that we are making 10 percent off of our water and sewer in order for them to pay their matching part for some of the grants the city is able to receive,” she said.
Recently, the City of Collins had the Mississippi Rural Water Association come in and do an analysis of their water and sewer rates.
“The suggestion they came back with was for the city to make the adjustment that was made in October,” Davis said.
The Board of Aldermen went with the suggestion and adjusted the city’s rates. Meanwhile, residents were upset with the change.
“The changes impact the person who uses a lot of water,” said Davis, “but an elderly couple on a fixed income, who use the minimum amount of water will not be impacted.
“At this point, the board went to work for its residents,” she said, “but they will have to look at it again when it’s time to work on the new budget. They are always aware of the concerns of the residents and want to do everything they can to help them.”