Mayor Butch Berry told council on Monday that the general fund was only $21,000 in the red, the least shortfall he can remember, and overall the city is $246,000 in the black. Sewer utilities are running higher than expected, but the city soon will see the benefits of the sewer rate increase and the Infrastructure Improvement fee. Finance Director Lonnie Clark said the rate increase and I&I charge are doing what the city intended, but it will take awhile to catch up.
Clark said the city is still losing money from water leakage, although it has identified three or four likely locations. Unfortunately, he pointed out, leaks are sometimes under important streets, so the city must choose appropriate repair time carefully.
Alderman David Mitchell replied that council had been told there would be a tremendous return on investing in new water meters, and he feels council was misled. New meters are in place, and the city is not seeing the expected benefits.
“It seems we were led down a path,” Mitchell commented. He acknowledged the work needed to be done, but the end result is not what was promised.
Berry countered that the city did increase its water capture, and discovered some large users were getting water basically for free.
Mitchell acknowledged the city identified incorrect water usage and replaced faulty meters, which was necessary, but still the city must repair faulty delivery lines so it loses less water. Berry simply said he is excited getting the repairs done.