FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — During Monday night's, June 21, Fayetteville City Council meeting, nothing was voted on for their newly recommend water and sewer rate change. The council specifically set aside time to hear from the community.
"I'm concerned," said Greenland City Councilmember Jim Renfrow.
Renfrow along with West Fork Mayor Helth Caudle were the only two speakers during the public comment section of the water and sewage rate discussion.
"West Fork is made of predominately of fixed-income families,” said Caudle. “We are struggling right to pay the bills."
After 14 years, the City of Fayetteville is looking to make changes to its water and sewer rates.
"The water used, by each customer class goes back to configure what their cost service should be," said a man with the City of Fayetteville.
Construction firm Black and Veatch made the recommendations to Fayetteville. Residents within Fayetteville could see a 6% decrease in water rates. However, for residents outside of Fayetteville city limits and use Fayetteville water, like Farmington, West fork, Greenland, etc. it’s recommended to increase the rate by a little more than 10%.
Businesses inside the city could pay 10% more. While businesses outside city limits could face about a 22% increase.
"A quarter of our revenue is going into the water and sewer department just to stay afloat," Caudle said.
He added that his city has dipped into savings to pay Fayetteville. However, Caudle’s main concern is the sewage rate. According to Caudle, the minimum for sewage in West Fork is $47.
"That's before you turn on the dishwasher, the washing machine; $47, that's just for the sewer," Caudle said.
He says the bill would jump to about $68, after the recommended increase.
“The citizens of West Fork, they can't take that type of increase," said Caudle. “We will by far have the highest sewer rates in NW Arkansas."
Both elected officials also mentioned how they did not get enough notice from Fayetteville on the rate change to notify and answer citizen questions. Saying they want the city to do better at notifying them.
The Fayetteville City Council decided to table this measure and will discuss it again on July 19th asking for more public comment.
If approved, the increase would go into effect January 1.
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