Water-rate decision may come Friday

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By Cindy Simpson

The 30-percent water-rate increases talked about for Rockwood customers will go into effect Aug. 1 if a resolution is approved at special-called meetings this week.

Rockwood Water, Sewer and Gas Board will meet in special-called session at 7 p.m. today, July 11, to discuss approval of the rate increase and the 2011-12 budget.

Rockwood City Council has scheduled a special-called meeting for 4 p.m. July 15 for the same purpose.

“We need to be aware that the state in November, if something isn’t done, then we are not going to be able to show we’re covering our operating expenses and the state will take over at that point as far as the rates,” warned Rockwood Water, Sewer and Natural Gas General Manager Kimberly Ramsey during a workshop with the governing board last month.

Among the many burdens the utility has to bear is repaying interdepartmental loans from the gas to the water department.

The Tennessee Comptroller’s office ordered the utility to repay those funds and interest after the borrowing came to light.

The utility also has to make necessary improvements in the system because of a Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation director’s order from earlier this year.