City Council waits to act on sewer, water hikes

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Lewisburg City Council addressed a light agenda at their Tuesday monthly meeting.

The two substantive issues presented at the work session on the previous Monday did not come before the council for action.

The main issue is the request from Lewisburg Water and Wastewater to raise rates on sewer and water use gradually over the next four years.

The total increase would equal 12 percent for water and 30 percent for sewer.

The State Revolving Fund, which provides low-interest loans for infrastructure projects, has told the department that in order to borrow $2 million for needed projects, the department will need to raise rates a minimum of four percent just to ensure payments on the associated debt.

Trigg Cathey, general manager of the water department, commissioned two separate rate studies to evaluate the financial position of the department into the future.

Both studies, from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service at the University of Tennessee and Rate Studies Inc., arrived at similar increases that would be needed in order to keep the department in a positive financial position over the next several years.

By state law, the expenditures and revenues of utilities must be balanced. If expenditures exceed revenues for two consecutive years, the state can and will take over administration of the utility and set rates that they deem necessary.

The water department is the only utility that is required to submit rate increase requests to the council for approval.

The proposal will come up for a vote at a later council meeting.

Larry McKnight made a request to the city at the work session on behalf of Marshall County veterans for the city to fund up to $10,000 per year for transportation of local vets to medical appointments at Veterans Administration facilities in Nashville or Murfreesboro.

The Marshall County Veterans Service office is normally funded by the county, but, in an effort to improve veterans services, McKnight sought to involve the city as well.

Currently the local office provides transportation, although this can leave the part-time office without anyone present for veterans who may call or come in.

McKnight and the South Central Area Transportation Service have reached an agreement where that agency can provide transportation at a flat rate of $35 per trip, allowing the staff to stay in the office to better serve the county’s 2,283 veterans.

The Veterans Service Office has requested a budget increase from the county that would allow for full-time staff, but McKnight and other veterans advocates are looking to the city to fund the transportation piece.

That request will be considered during future council budget discussions.

Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham signed several proclamations

Bingham presented proclamations marking the month of May as Monarch Butterfly Month. The city is joining in an initiative called the Mayor’s Pledge For Monarchs, aimed at developing and preserving habitat for the migrating butterflies.

The week of May 14 is also National Police Week, with Monday, May 15 being Peace Officer’s Memorial Day. The Lewisburg Police Department will lay a wreath at the county courthouse on Monday to mark the occasion.

The week of May 21 is Public Works Week, a national observance for those who work in public infrastructure professions.