Rate increase opposed

Wayland City Attorney Tyler Green, right, reads a resolution that the Wayland City Commission approved in opposition to a rate increase requested by Southern Water and Sewer.

The Wayland City Commission officially stamped its disapproval of a rate increase for the Southern Water and Sewer District.

On July 9, the commission approved a resolution declaring the city’s opposition to the district’s rate increase and the flat rate recently imposed by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

The resolution approved Tuesday is planned to be mailed to Southern Water and submitted as a public comment in a pending PSC case in which Southern Water is seeking a rate increase of 32.3 percent. 

In that case, the PSC issued an order on June 6 granting a temporary flat rate of $58.82 for Southern Water, while “strongly” encouraging the district to sell its assets or merge with another utility. The flat rate increased average customer bills by about $17, the PSC reported, from $41.40 to $58.82.

The PSC approved a flat rate for Southern Water retail customers “reluctantly,” a press release said, because Southern Water has not tested meters in 10 years, has no replacement meters in stock and “cannot rely on the accuracy” of its meters.

Last month, Mayor Jerry Fultz shared a table of rates, reporting that Wayland residents with both water and sewage services through Southern will pay more than $122 monthly. That total also includes $16 added to the bills for trash collection.

Fultz reported that residents who only have water and trash collection on their bills will pay nearly $75 monthly for that service, and senior citizens, who receive discounted trash bills from the Floyd County Fiscal Court, will pay about $70 per month.

Fultz said the resolution came about after concerns about the rate increase were raised at the city’s last meeting. 

“It essentially says that the city commission opposes any rate increase as well as the current emergency increase,” City Attorney Tyler Green said.

Fultz told him, “Of course, as a resolution, it carries only the weight that someone would be willing to give it. Is that true?”

Green agreed, but noted that it’s a “formal opinion of the city commission.” 

“I have no trouble with saying that the rates are too high,” Fultz said. “And this does it formally.”

The resolution notes that a “large portion” of Wayland residents are “financially indigent and/or poor” and the rate increase requested by Southern “would be detrimental if granted or if continued at the rate in the emergency rate increase.”

The vote was unanimous. 

During the meeting, the commission also voted to send a letter to the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals informing them that Quest is no longer allowed on the property the company has been mining in Wayland. The commission previously ended the contract it has with the company, with officials reporting that Quest owes Wayland at least $30,000 and that the total has probably increased over that amount.

In other news, the commission also:

• Received complaints from community members who asked for help dealing with dog excrement on city sidewalks. Fultz asked them to file a formal complaint with the police department. He also reported in the meeting that Wayland sidewalks are deeded to property owners in the city. 

• Received complaints from a community member who voiced concerns about speeding drivers. Fultz reported that Police Chief Brian Ratliff recently received a new radar gun and will be writing tickets for those who speed.

• Approved bills and the financial report, showing the city has $38,000 in road aid and $155,000 in its general fund. 

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