Members of the CVWSD, which includes Pell City, Springville, the St. Clair County Commission and the Utilities Board of the town of Odenville, approved charges for the upcoming year Monday night.
“It’s an increase we can’t avoid,” said CVWSD Chairman Paul Manning. “This is just the situation.”
Officials said the St. Clair County Commission initially helped subsidize the operation of the multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art facility, which treats 3 mgd (million gallons a day) of surface water indirectly from the Coosa River, with a $2 million grant.
The grant money is about depleted, so CVWSD members are absorbing more of the operation cost of the surface water treatment facility in Ragland.
Tim Mitchell, project manager for the facility, said every drop of the 3 mgd water is being used by CVWSD entities.
“We have no water to sell,” Mitchell said.
The surface water treatment plant is capable of producing 6 mgd of treated water.
Each CVWSD member entity is required to purchase 750,000 gallons of water per day.
The monthly cost for water increased from $42,474 to $58,299, about a $14,000 increase per month for the upcoming year.
Operating costs have gradually increased for CVWSD members, as planned.
In 2012 the monthly cost for CVWSD members was $34,461 a month.
CVWSD board member Jimmy Bailey, with the Utilities Board of the town of Odenville, said the most recent increase CVWSD members will pay in the upcoming year translates to a cost of about $1.54 per 1,000 gallons of water.
Pell City manager Patrick Draper said the increase was expected, and the city budgeted money for the increase.
“We actually budgeted more,” he said. “It didn’t increase more than what we thought it would.”
He said Pell City budgeted $70,000 a month for CVWSD water costs.
“We realized it’s going to kick in full gear next year,” Draper said. “We thought it was going to kick in this year. That’s why we put that amount in the budget.”
Pell City will pay about $68,000 a month for CVWSD water next year, he said.
The Pell City Council approved a 10 percent rate increase to help pay for its part in the operation of the CVWSD surface water treatment plant last year. It also approved to move forward with an in-depth water and sewer rate study.
Grant money in the amount of $525,000 is paying for a portion of the total operating cost for the facility this calendar year.
CVWSD attorney John Rea said CVWSD still has about $300,000 in reserve.
Operating costs for the upcoming year for the CVWSD plant includes about $2 million in bond debt payments, which was a loan to pay for the construction of the surface water treatment plant.
Annual operating expenses, which include management fees, salaries, insurance, maintenance, repair and administrative services directly related to the plant, is budgeted at $1.164 million.
Another $120,000, the district variable charge, is budgeted for costs not directly related to the actual operation of the plant.
The district is to establish, within the first 15 days of January, the amount each participant must pay for the upcoming year, the fixed amount, the district variable charge and the operating expenses for the upcoming year.
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