Water rates were in question at the Tuesday, July 19 meeting of the Russellville City Council. Citizen Amy Stafford spoke with the council asking the body to “respectfully” look at the water rates in the city believing them to be too high. Stafford is the daughter of former Russellville Mayor Shirlee Yassney, who has expressed concern over the rates as well.
“I appreciate y’all letting me come speak at this meeting, and I respectfully ask for you to look at our water rates,” said Stafford, who brought along with her a former city employee who once worked in the water-sewer department under Yassney’s administration.
“I brought Chuck McCollum who used to work for the city’s water and sewer department,” Stafford said. “I’m not the smartest person when it comes to these numbers, that’s why I asked Chuck to take a look at them. He helped me and mom look at the audit and the water rates.”
Stafford mentioned to the council that her mom had asked the city about the rates, but felt she was told to leave it alone.
“We are not saying anyone is doing anything illegal,” Stafford said to the council. “We just feel our rates are too high and we would like you to looked at them. In 2006 there was a water rate study done that suggested an increase of 5.7 percent but the city decided to increase it 55 percent. Why? Did we really need all that money? We now have $3,142,000 in deposits in the bank. What are we doing with it? These are questions we want answers to. Are we putting it into our water infrastructure? Are we working on our water loss?”
Stafford said her water bill runs $150-200 a month for six people. “That’s high,” she said. “You go to Bowling Green and it is $30-$40. If you look at it in the big picture we will lose industry, and people will want to move out of our city. This is a beautiful community and we cannot bring in business if we are going to charge some of the highest water rates in the state,” concluded Stafford. “I’m just asking respectfully to look at this to help our citizens, and to help our community grow.”
Stafford suggested forming a board to look at things like this, saying she felt it would show that the city is doing something to lower the rates.
“None of us wanted you to think we are mad,” said Stafford to the council. “We just want to see a change.”
Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton thanked Stafford for coming to the meeting and for listing her concerns and questions. He assured her the city would look into her questions and get back to her.
“We appreciate you bringing in this list and we will look at it I promise you. We will consider all of it and your concerns and input. We will take this under advisement and get back with you and have answers,” Stratton said.
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