Alabaster approves sewer expansion bid

During the next five years, the citizens of Alabaster will enjoy expanded sewer services, but beginning this October they will face higher sewer rates to pay for it.

At its Monday meeting, the Alabaster City Council approved the low bid on a $9.7 million dollar sewer expansion project as well as an ordinance to phase in increased sewer rates.

The council approved the low bid from P.F. Moon of West Point, Ga., to expand the Alabaster sewer system from a capacity of 3 million gallons per day to 7.5 million gallons.

According to Councilmember Tommy Ryals, construction will take 18 to 24 months, plus an additional two years to fine tune the sewer expansion.

Ryals said Alabaster was given a permit in October 2000 for the sewer expansion and 18 months to begin construction.

He said construction actually began last April when property was purchased, the expansion was designed, geotechnical studies were conducted, property was cleared and old buildings were torn down.

According to Ryals, the expansion will all take place at the current sewer location across from Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

The council next held a public hearing and presented its plan to increase residential and commercial sewer rates to fund the sewer expansion.

Council President Rick Walters said the city had nearly reached its sewer capacity. He noted that expanded sewer service will also help recruit retail business to the area.

When no one expressed opposition to the sewer rate increase, the council approved the following rate increase schedule:

Residential: The base rate will remain unchanged at $17.50 per month. But beginning Oct. 1, 2002, the per 1,0000 gallon rate will go from $1.05 to $1.40, then to $1.61 gallons on Oct. 1, 2003, and to $1.85 on Oct. 1, 2004. The cap will increase from $35 to $45. And the sewer tap fee will remain unchanged at $2,700.

Commercial: On Oct. 1, the base rate will increase from $20 to $44 for the first 5,000 gallons. Previously, commercial customers paid a $20 base rate and then $1.05 per 1,000 gallons after that.

Under the new rate, the per 1,000 additional gallon usage will go to $7.43 in 2003, $7.73 in 2004 and $8.04 in 2004. The tap fee will remain at $2,700.

Walters said the expanded sewer system will require 24-hour seven days per week personnel.

In other matters, the council:

Approved a request from A & S Food Mart Inc. at 630 First Street South

for a retail beer and retail table wine off premise only license. Council member Henry Hines asked that the city make sure the sign ordinance in enforced across from a school.

Approved the same request for Alabama Pit Stop 2 at 1314 First Street N.

Approved a street light request for 1104 Independence Drive.

And set a council work session for July 29 at 7 p.m.

Councilmembers met in pre-council with residents of Stagecoach Trace subdivision and asked them to submit a list of concerns.

Mayor David Frings thanked everyone for their support of the Alabaster Blast and congratulated 11-year-old National League All-Star team from Alabaster which will travel to Overland Park in Kansas to participate in the World Serives on July 21.

And Councilmember Bobby Harris presented a library report