DAYTON – Residents will see a cap on water and sewer rates going forward, while there will also be a cap on annual rate increases for trash collection while extending the current service contract.
During a lengthy meeting, the council addressed those issues and seemed satisfied that the cost of future water and sewer rates would remain at this year’s rate.
“ We went out and did our homework and looked at our current revenues for our utility fund,” said City Manager Kimberly Judge. “ We are comfortable at this moment to freeze our water rates.”
The city initially saw r water rates increase two years ago, as the city was looking for solutions to financial challenges, and the fact rates had not been raised in years.
At the time, the base rate for 2,000 gallons nearly doubled for water and sewer, and an 8% increase set to go up each October through 2029.
The council has decided not to automatically move forward with the yearly increase but instead review the need each year.
At the time, councilman John Headrick opposed the increase, butting heads with former city manager Steve Floyd.
“ To me, the rates are just too much at one time,” said Headrick.
Headrick and Councilwoman Sherial Lawson, who initially voted for the increase, quickly motioned and seconded before a unanimous vote in favor of the freeze.
The new cap on the rates will not impact the discount already afforded to seniors.
That discount can be obtained by any senior homeowner or renter who is the household head and can provide legal proof. To do so, a resident must provide documentation showing they are either the homeowner or have a lease agreement documenting they are the renter and a copy of their identification.
Council also tackled trash rates and heard from representatives at Frontier Waste Solutions about annual cost increases that have gone up well over 6% or more the past couple of cycles, but an agreement between the city and the service provider will cap any future increases at 3%.
That will include a rollback on this year’s increase for all residential customers. Commercial rates will still see increases going forward.
“ We thought outside the dumpster,” said Frontier’s Terry Woodson.
Council appeared to embrace the idea of locking those rate increases at 3% for the city’s residents, but some did seem curious about other options.
“I know that based on the current contract, this is great, but have you all looked at another option,” said Lawson.
Judge shared with the council that some of the other options in the past were no longer available or operating in the area.
Council approved the agreement and will continue on the current project with Frontier until June 2030.
In other business, council announced the hearing and vote on the city’s proposed tax rate for 2023- 24, with a figure of $ 0.066079871, the highest the city can utilize without voter approval. That hearing is set for 6 p.m. at the Dayton Community Center