Editors Note: In the original version of this story, published online on April 29 and in print in the Herald on April 30, rates were listed as having increased across the board. The only rates to have increased are those for the minimum 2,000 gallons of water used. The rates listed as the previous rates were actually increased in April 2013 to those listed as the new, current rates.
HAZARD—During a special called meeting last Thursday, the Hazard City Commission voted to approve the second reading of an ordinance which raises water rates for all customers using the City of Hazard’s water system in order to help pay for new water system upgrades.
According to the ordinance, the previous rates for customers with the City of Hazard inside the corporate limits of the city sat at $9.87 per the minimum 2,000 gallons used. The new rates will increase that to $10.62. Customers outside of the corporate limits of the city will see an equal rate increase, with the minimum usage rate increasing from $13.79 to $14.54. Rates for the City of Vicco and the City of Buckhorn were fixed at $4.57 per 1,000 gallons.
Hazard City Manager Grady Varney explained that this increase would only be $0.75 per month for customers—a $9 increase per year.
The increased payments from customers would help repay bonds that the City of Hazard has taken out to help fund the Hazard Water Systems Improvements Project, which was reported in the regular called commissioner’s meeting in March to cost $5 million in total.
The Herald reported in January that the project would include improvements such as replacing booster stations with variable electronic controls to better regulate water flows in areas prone to water losses, installing new master water meters, and upgrading the system’s telemetry equipment to help the city monitor and remotely control system operations.
At the March meeting, Hazard City Engineer Hank Spaulding said even though rates had been increased last year and would need to be raised again to help fund the project, the benefits of the project would far outweigh any negatives that would come from a rate increase. He added that the new equipment could potentially pay for itself in a matter of time from the amount of work it would save the city.
Commissioners Happy Mobelini and Fitz Gilbert were not in attendance and therefore did not vote on the resolution.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.