By Jim Young
The Crossville City Council approved the last of a series of water and sewer rate increases required as part of financing for water and sewer system improvements including the improvements to the Meadow Park Lake Dam and the Lake Tansi water harvesting system.
The council had previously approved the financing package from the state revolving loan fund and agreed to the rate increases in order to receive the financing. The council approved the last of the four 5 percent rate increases making a total increase of 20 percent rate increase phased in over four years. The total revenue from the new 5 percent increase according to finance director Fred Houston is around $350,000.
Councilman Jesse Kerley said he was opposed to the rate increase. “I don't feel these are necessary until we take a hard look at our sewer plant that is outsourced,” said Kerley. Kerley explained he felt Veolia was charging the city too much, but added, “We'll get into that more later on.”
Councilman Pete Souza commented he felt the increases were necessary to reduce the city's debt. Souza added, however, that he agreed with Kerley about looking at the contract for operating the sewer plant at a future meeting.
Councilman George Marlow said he felt the rate increase was a commitment the city had already made but he added he hoped it would be a while before another increase would be needed.
Councilman Danny Wyatt had requested a study of water rates in the area and, according to City Manager Bruce Wyatt, of the 10 or 12 surrounding systems, Crossville was ranked third from the lowest based on a 2,000 gallon minimum bill.
The motion to increase the rates passed with four yes votes and councilman Kerley voting against the motion.
The council approved a proposal from Pyro Shows for fireworks at the city's annual July Fourth celebration. Pyro was the only bidder and offered the city 3 different levels of show of $15,000, $20,000 or $30,000, but that decision does not have to be made until later.
Crossville Marketing Director Billy Loggins reported that some $8,200 in donations had been raised on the fireworks fund so far. The council agreed to match whatever funds were raised to pay for a show that had previously been removed from the city budget.
Kerley said he would offer a donation of $300 toward the fund if the other council members would agree to donate as well. Kerley said the $300 was the amount he received for one month service as a councilman. Kerley added he would also like to challenge the members of the county commission to each donate $300. According to Kerley, that would add an additional $6,900 to the fund. With those additional funds, the total available for the event would be just over $30,000 when the matching funds from the city are added in.
“I'd like for us to have a really nice fireworks show this year,” commented Kerley.