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Selma water rates increase in November

One water board member says he is against it, and it was done without public knowledge.

The other board members say it has to be done or else the city will find itself in a deficit. They also say they have never hidden anything from the public.

According to a resolution passed by the Water Works and Sewer Board of the City of Selma, the water board will raise water and sewer rates, beginning Nov. 1.

Water rates inside the city limits will be raised from $6.98 to $7.98,

while sewer rates will be raised from $3.49 to $5.98. These

are the minimum rates for the first 4,000 gallons of water used.

Outside city limits, water rates will be raised from $13.22 to $15.20, while sewer rates will be raised from $6.61 to $11.40. These are the minimum rates for the first 3,000 gallons of water used, according to the resolution.

Marvin Melton, secretary treasurer of the water board, said that without an increase in rates, the city will find itself in a $435,000 deficit by the end of next year.

Water board member Glenn Sexton, who agreed with the increase, said the city has lost 125 to 150 residential and business customers over the past year, adding to the need for a rate increase.

Melton further added that the city has not raised rates for the past four years, something most cities have done, he said.

According to figures obtained from the Selma Water and Sewer Board, other cities, with comparable populations, currently have much higher water and sewer rates than Selma.

Prattville, with a population of 24, 303, currently has a minimum water rate of $12.80 and a sewer rate of $9.25, both of which are almost twice as much as Selma.

Opelika, with a population of 23, 498, has a minimum water rate of $11.36 and a sewer rate of $15.11, a sewer rate, which is five times as high as Selma’s sewer rate.

While Northport, with a population of 19,345, shows a water rate of $10.52 and a sewer rate of $10.48, both higher rates than Selma.

Water board member Sam Randolph says that he is against the rate increase. He said that board members had also increased the rates without telling the public, &uot;wasting people’s tax dollars.&uot;

Randolph also said that a payroll clerk with the board had received a $10,000 salary increase, which he called &uot;a waste of taxpayer’s money.&uot;

When asked about Randolph’s statements, Hicks, Melton and Sexton all said that Randolph failed to attend water board meetings regularly.

Hicks said the reason the salary increase was implemented for the water board employee was because the employee was currently performing more duties than before.