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Desloge residents to see water rate hike

Residents of Desloge will see an increase of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons on their water rates beginning with their July bill. Rate increases are needed to move the water department to self-sufficiency, officials said.

Residents of Desloge will see a hike in water rates effective at the beginning of July.

During the regular board of aldermen meeting on Monday night, the urgency of the need for an increase was discussed by the alderman and newly hired Chief Water Operator Paul Pilliard. City Administrator Dan Bryan said that the idea behind the water company when it initially started was that it would be self-sufficient.

Mayor David Kater said the city knew they would have to assist in funding the department for the first several years but felt, along with several of the aldermen, it was time the department moved more toward self-sufficiency.

Bryan reported to the board that in the current fiscal year the city has provided $320,000 to the water department out of the general fund to enable the department to operate.

“This amount of money could have been used on various other projects in the city such as additional street improvements,” said Bryan.

Pilliard told the board that in order for the water department to break even the charge would have to be $10.98 per 1,000 gallons. Alderman David Shaw said that he was hesitant to go that much all at one time since the current rate is $5.44 per 1,000 gallons.

Pilliard cited inflation of repair parts as the biggest concern for the department’s financial difficulty, stating that a part that cost $25 10 years ago is now about $76.

“We are simply not keeping up with the rate of inflation,” said Pilliard.

The first issue the board took up was to raise the minimum bill amount by $5 meaning that regardless of use, the lowest water bill a citizen can receive will be at the $15 mark. In addition, the board approved a raise in water rates of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons used, making the new rate $7.94 per thousand gallons used including the sewer rate. The average customer could expect to see a $10 per month increase based on these numbers.

The new rates are for residential customers only as commercial increases will be discussed at a later date.

The city of Park Hills is currently at a rate of $5.19 per 1,000 gallons including water and sewer and has a minimum monthly amount of $13 total for water and sewer.

Bonne Terre charges $7.72 per thousand gallons for up to 2,000 gallons and then $3.87 per 1,000 gallons above 2,000 for water usage and the minimum sewer charge is $13.81 up to 1,000 gallons and then $4.90 per 1,000 gallons over 1,000. This would make Bonne Terre’s rate $21.53 for 1,000 gallons and then $8.77 per thousand gallons after 1,000 gallons of usage.

The city of Bismarck uses a flat rate system for residents in the city limits at a rate of $15.25 for water and $16.76 for sewer making the city’s water cost a total of $32.01 regardless of usage. The city of Leadwood also charges a flat rate and residential customers pay a base bill of $93.68 per month while businesses pay a base of $102.51 per month.

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Matt McFarland is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616, or at mmcfarland@dailyjournalonline.com.

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