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franklin county times

Water improvements will prompt higher bills

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Jan. 11, 2001
Southwest Lauderdale Water Association officials are planning improvements paid for by a $1 million dollar grant and $622,000 loan but improved service will also result in increased water bills.
Terry Boyette, association manager, said Wednesday the association is required to take out the loan to qualify for the grant both funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Office. He said they are required to raise rates to pay back the loan and put money in reserve. Customers will see the increases on their bills in April.
Current monthly rates are $15.50 for up to 3,000 gallons of water and $3 for each additional thousand. Costs are expected to increase to $19 for up to 2,000 gallons and $5 for each additional thousand. Commercial rates and residential rates are the same, Boyette said, but businesses and industries will see a greater increase because they use more water.
The funds were approved last week, but Boyette said he does not know when they will arrive. Association officials are busy getting preliminary work done such as getting engineer's plans approved and lining up contractors. He expects project construction to begin about the middle or end of this year.
Boyette said Meehan's treatment plant will be replaced, and the existing well will be upgraded for increased water capacity. A booster station will also be built on Meehan Savoy Road to provide more water pressure. The treatment plant on Fishlodge Road will be refurbished for increased capacity. Funds will also allow for painting storage tanks and possibly add another one. Boyette said water service will be more reliable and more efficient.
He said the association must first use the loan funds and then finish the project with grant money.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.