Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Sparta To Raise Water Rates For First Time In Five Years

Sparta Aldermen voted Thursday night to raise water and utility rates for the first time in five years.

City Administrator Tonya Tindle said the state rejected the city’s water budget last year. She said for several years now, Sparta utilities have been barely breaking even or losing money every month. She said instead of the current $18.54 for the first 2,000 gallons used, that price will apply to every 1,000 gallons.

“Everything that it costs to produce water now, we have got to keep up or we’re going to go in the hole,” Tindle said. “If we do not profit for three years in a row, the state will come in and set these rates for us, and they will set them a whole lot higher than what we would do.”

Tindle said utility rates will jump from $2.54 to $2.85. She said the city has been trying to conduct a rate study to find the best solution but has been stuck on a two-year waiting list. She said the rate change will go into effect July 1, 2024.

“So the rates themselves didn’t change, but the usage that coordinated with that rate did,” Tindle said. “Which is a rate increase if you, you know, based on usage.”

Sparta Mayor Jerry Lowery said this way, rather than a full-scale water rate change, people are still charged for how much they are using. He said he hopes the change will help the city maintain a more profitable utility situation until a rate study.

“Y’all know how I am about fees and things like that, but the state was on us pretty good about our budget, and the lack of it balancing out this year,” Lowery said. “And we really don’t want them coming in and setting our rates for us because we won’t have any input at that point, so this is a way to try to do that and make it work without too much cost on the public.”

In other business, the board voted to approve a contract with the Tennessee Law Enforcement Support Office, granting the city more opportunities to secure high-quality surplus items for the Police Department at fair prices.

The board also voted to authorize the solicitation of applications for a Truck Driver for the Sanitation Department.

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