BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena City Council will have their monthly meeting tonight at Mena City Hall.
Among the agenda items, the Council will consider an adjustment of sewer rate fees for Mena Sewer Department consumers.
In a Finance Committee Meeting held yesterday, Mena Water Manager Charles Pitman said that the Council had passed an ordinance ten years ago allowing an annual increase in sewer rates which would allow for increases at a slow rate however, as each year passes by, the Council has not increased the rates. Due to the lack of increases in the past several years, the rate proposed is $1.30 per 1,000 gallons of sewer. The amount will equal to an average raise of $5-10 per month, per customer.
The increase will be used to implement a new treatment system at the sewer treatment plant. After approval through the Finance Committee yesterday, the Council will consider a motion to approve the increase.
If the rate increase passes, Pitman has also proposed using a portion of the Mena Water Utilities’ part of the County sales tax to build a pad for a new geo-tube system and to purchase specialized sewer pond treatment equipment.
The new system will not only be economically sound for the city, it will also keep added traffic off of the road to the sewer plant. Pitman said that the last time sludge was removed from the sewer pond, it cost the City more than $200,000 that was paid to the County for the repair of the road. The removal of the sludge took 3,300 18-wheeler loads, wreaking havoc on the roadway. With the new system, the sewage is dried in geo-tubes before being hauled away, a process that would only require a dump truck.
If the rate passes and the new system is purchased, the increase would take effect with the December billing cycle and construction would begin soon after.
The Finance Committee stressed that this will not increase water rates, only sewer rates.
Also on the agenda for the Council is the purchase of drainage tile for the Street Department and considering bids for the hot-mix overlay program.
The meeting is held in City Hall at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.