Cities that get their sewer services from Dothan Utilities are facing a deadline for a rate increase. Even though the amount for signing a long-term contract is not quite what was originally stated, it's still quite a bit to pass on to residents.
The original memo sent to sewer service customers stated that the new price for a long-term contract would be $3.82 for 1000 gallons. However, that would have been a 35 percent increase.
The city of Dothan will be raising the rates for it's city sewer services for customers outside of the city. The recent memo stated they would be charged cost plus 30 percent based on $2.47 per thousand gallons to collect and treat sewage or $3.82. However, that amount is actually more than 30 percent.
Mike West, the Dothan City Manager, says, “Somehow, there's a typo there. He says it's $3.21, but more importantly these communities that have had this information since end of last March or beginning of April and haven't hear anything from them.”
Currently other communities pay $1.05 for 1000 gallons of sewer service, under old contracts or agreements. If they elect to pay month to month, it would cost $5.20 per 1000 gallons. Kinsey's mayor says a new plant would cost millions and take a couple of years to build, so he's looking to the public for input.
Mayor Jason Reneau says, “Everything is going up with the price of fuel. I don't disagree that it costs more to treat sewage, but there are different ways it could have been handled. We could work together. Maybe that's what we can do to get this thing straightened out.
In the meantime, Dothan officials say they have no choice but to pass the expense on to outside customers.
Billy Mayes, the Director of Dothan Utilities, says, “The Krebbs study came up with $2.47 cost of services. 30 percent is $3.21. The bottom line is that the citizens of Dothan have been subsidizing everyone that's paid less than the $2.47.”
City officials say no portion of the one-cent sales tax goes toward these services, and there are no current plans to pass an increase on to Dothan city customers.
The city of Kinsey is having a meeting right now to discuss the rate increase with the public. They will also address it at the city council meeting on Thursday. In the meantime, Dothan city officials are sending out a corrected copy of the memo.
The service rates will take effect during the next billing period.