Pelham to discuss reducing sewer rates

Published 11:51 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Water Board will start looking at ways of possibly lowering the city’s sewer rates during a Jan. 28 meeting at Pelham City Hall, Mayor Gary Waters said during a Jan. 22 City Council work session.

“Nobody knows the last time the Water Board met,” Waters said after the work session. “So this will kill two birds with one stone. It will give us a chance to discuss reducing the sewer rates and serve as our first meeting in a long time.”

Per city law, Waters serves as the chairman of the Water Board, and the council members serve as the board members.

During his campaign for mayor, Waters said he planned to work with the council and the Water Board to reduce the city’s water and sewer rates. Pelham’s commercial and residential water and sewer rates currently are higher than many surrounding municipalities, and Waters said the difference may be deterring economic development in the city.

“This is the first Water Board meeting for us (as a council), and the first (for the city) for quite some time,” said City Council President Rick Hayes. “We will look at the sewer rate issue so we can move forward with those options that I think are sorely needed.”

In December 2009, the council narrowly approved an incremental city sewer rate increase to help fund several state-mandated upgrades at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and to make up shortfalls in the city’s sewer budget.

During its meeting, the Water Board also will hear from a representative from the Municipal Consultants firm, which is working to replace a section of the main water line in Pelham’s Chandar subdivision, Waters said.

The Water Board meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m., and will be preceded by a budget-oriented council work session at 6:15 p.m.