Pelham council likely to vote on water rate increases at Feb. 6 meeting

PELHAM – The Pelham City Council will likely vote on water rate increases with gradual yearly increases outlined in the resolution at its next meeting on Monday, Feb. 6.

At Monday’s Jan. 23 meeting of the Pelham Water Board, the board came to the general consensus that rate increases for the next couple of years should be included in the resolution set to come before the council.

Board member Beth McMillan said its best to outline a plan for the next few years rather than having to revisit the matter at a later date. The water board proposed that the resolution would take effect on March 1.

The city’s current water rates for residential and commercial customers within the city limit is $13 per month for 0-3,000 gallons of water, and then $3.30 per 1,000 gallons thereafter.

Residential and commercial customers outside of the city limits now pay $15 per month for 0-3,000 gallons, and then $3.80 per 1,000 gallons thereafter. A 4 percent state sales tax applies to customers inside and outside of the city limits.

For customers inside of the city limits it costs $22.90 per month for 6,000 gallons of water. Those outside of the city limits pay $26.24 per month for 6,000 gallons of water.

The City Council proposed increasing the water rates for those inside the city limits to $14 per month for 0-3,000 gallons of water, and to $16.50 per month for 0-3,000 gallons of water for customers outside of the city limits.

The proposed increase for those inside the city limits is $24.89 per month for 6,000 gallons of water, and $29.04 per month for 6,000 gallons of water for those outside of the city limits.

About 35 percent of the city’s customers use between 0-3,000 gallon of water per month, while 75 percent of customers use 6,000 gallons or less.

Nineteen percent of the city’s Public Works customers reside outside of the city limits, while 81 percent of customers live within the city limits.

The Pelham City Council has expressed that water rate increases are needed to combat wholesale water rate increases from Shelby County. About 35 percent of the city’s water is purchased from Shelby County.

The city anticipates that Shelby County’s wholesale water costs will continue to increase.

The rate for Social Security and Social Security Disability customers is expected to remain the same at $5.60 per month for 0-3,000 gallons then $2 per 1,000 gallons thereafter. City Clerk Marsha Yates said nine customers have qualified this year for the Social Security and Social Security Disability rate.

Director of Public Works Eddy Jowers said Shelby County started increasing their wholesale water rates after passing a resolution in 2008 to implement five increases between 2008 and 2012. Another resolution was passed in 2014 to increase the wholesale rate by 7 percent every year until 2018.