The Clarksville Town Council gave its preliminary approval to bond and rate ordinances to make way for the construction of the town’s new wastewater treatment plant at its meeting Monday.
“We’re at a critical time now,” said Rebecca Lockard, a town-employed attorney. “The board cannot delay this any longer.”
The rate increases are necessary to service the bonds needed to fund the project. Clarksville sewer bills are expected to raise by 77 percent. The average bill, which is currently $27.95 for 667 cubic feet of usage, is expected to go to $49.47. The current stormwater utility bill in Clarksville averages $2.95, but will go to $6 if the increases are approved.
The final sewer rates will be set when bids for construction are received, which are due June 27, said Project Coordinator Brittany Montgomery.
The ordinances will be introduced at a meeting July 15. Public hearings on the rate increases and passage of the ordinances will likely take place on Aug. 6, Lockard said.
Previous estimates had put Clarksville’s new average sewer bill at around $39. But rising bond interest rates and construction costs made that impossible to achieve, Lockard said.
“We’ve been putting it off and trying to get [the rates] as low as we possibly could get it, and it actually cost us, I think, about half a percentage point on our bonds,” Council President Bob Polston said.
“Some of it is due to increased interest costs ... and then some of it is that as we got further into design, that costs have just increased,” Montgomery said. “More work needs to be done both on the wastewater and the stormwater side.”
The preliminary approvals were granted by the council with a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Don Tetley voting against.
TOWN SUPPORTS CLARKFEST 2013
The town council unanimously threw its financial support behind Clarkfest 2013, a parade event being held Sept. 2 by the Eastern Boulevard Business Association.