BY MELANIE BUCK –
A rate increase for water services was approved at the most recent meeting of the Mena City Council on May 16th. The increase was discussed in April’s Mena Water Utilities (MWU) Commission Meeting, who then sent the recommendation to the full council for approval.
Mena Water Utility Manager Charles Pitman said that the utility consulted with Communities Unlimited (CU) regarding its current water rates and CU confirmed that the utility is not charging enough to cover its costs. The new rate schedule will be changed to two tiers. The cost of water will go from $3.13 for the first 5,000 gallons, $2.94 for the next 7,000 gallons, and $2.60 for everything over 12,100 gallons to $3.20 for the first 10,000 gallons and $2.80 for water over 10,100 gallons. Pitman explained that this will affect the average household (5,500 gallons per month) by less than $5 per month. Larger users, such as customers outside of town with chicken houses that use 50,000 gallons of water can expect approximately $10 additionally each month. MWU’s largest user should expect to see an increase each month of less than $100.
Now through the approval phase, customers will begin to see the increase beginning in their July 2017 bills.
In other City Council matters, they voted to pass Resolution #1338 that authorizes the City’s police and fire departments to apply for funding from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. Rick Chrisman was re-appointed to the Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission for a four-year term set to expire in 2021.
In department reports, both Mena Regional Health System and the Mena Police Department had busy months in April. The hospital had a surge of visits and surgeries. Police Chief Brandon Martin reported that his department made 61 arrests in April, a two-a-day average, and said his officers were “very busy.”
Mena City Council will next meet on Tuesday, June 13, 6 p.m., at Mena City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.