HUB water increase still up in the air

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By Cindy Simpson

Harriman Utility Board water customers can expect an increase in their bill this fall, but one question remains:

Will  they see a percentage increase on their rates or will it be a flat fixed charge?

HUB officials said they need to pay off $1.7 million in loans for necessary improvements, including a million-gallon water tank on McKinney Road and the installation of a new water line across the river next to the Lon Mee Bridge.

The debt payments are about $125,000 a year.

How much the rate increase or flat-rate charge should be has not been publicly proposed, but in June the board approved a proposed flat rate of $2.10 per month.

Assistant Manager Bill Young said he still needs to work on the numbers, because it appears the interest will be lower than what the utility used to come up with that figure.

The board looked at a rate increase at the request of Harriman City Council members.

City officials wanted more input on which option would be better for the customers.

HUB members maintain a flat fee would be best, especially since it would be easier to reverse once the loan is paid.

“When we pay the bill, we can remove the flat rate from the bills,” HUB Chairman Gary Goff said.

A flat amount would apply the same to each customer.

Goff also asked the utility to figure out how much money would be saved by having the utility repairs made around the community before paving began.

The utility used operating funds to pay for utility work on many streets scheduled to be paved this year.

“This saves us from having to go back and repave or repatch the roads,” Goff said,

“I think the city should be commended on waiting,” said water and gas superintendent Frankie Davis. “I think everyone will be proud to have these roads.”