Water rates, land sale face council Tuesday

Friday, June 4, 2010

A utility rate hike and the likely sale of land by Lewisburg to the city's water utility are among the topics facing the City Council when it convenes on Tuesday night in City Hall.

Lewisburg's Water and Wastewater Board of Directors last month unanimously voted to recommend rate hikes on water and sewer service and the Council is to consider that during its regular monthly meeting.

State law requires utilities to be self-sufficient. Since they can't rely on taxes, water and sewer rates are the chief source of revenue for utilities. A sizeable capital project for the utility will increase debt payments and so rates are to be raised.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation want the city to increase the treatment capacity of its sewage treatment plant. One way to control the cost of the project is to build a holding tank to delay treatment when flows are high.

The tank is planned on land that was once the Murray Horse Farm. The property was purchased nearly two years ago by the city from Roger Ritch, founder of Ritch Building Supply, for $525,000.

The 10-acre sale of land to the utility has been valued at about $110,000, according to City Manager Eddie Fuller.

An average city resident's water and sewer bill may increase approximately $7-8 per month if the Council authorizes the rate hike.

Also set for the 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting are: rules on city cemetery use; and a zoning code change that could lead to the opening of a new business on South Ellington Parkway. Public hearings on those topics are set for 5:50 p.m. in City Hall on East Church Street.