The Adairville city council came to no conclusions about what to do with the water rate increase Monday night at the first meeting of the new year.
It was the first meeting for Donna Blake as the new mayor and council members Michelle Trimble and Brent Johnson.
The Logan Todd Regional Water Commission is raising its rates eight cents per 1,000 gallons.
LTRWC, which gets its water from the Cumberland River and processes it at a state-of-the-art facility in Guthrie, acts as a wholesaler while the individual water districts and municipalities — including the city of Adairville — act as retailers. All water in Logan County comes from LTRWC.
When LTRWC raises the price for water, the districts and cities must choose whether or not to pass the expense on to customers.
The previous council and mayor also talked about the rate increase at the previous meeting.
Former mayor Jim Wilkerson had suggested raising the rate 10 cents per 1,000 gallons because that would cover the increase by the LRTWC and also give the city a little extra money it can use for maintenance and improvement of water lines.
The council seemed unsure if the 10 cents would be enough, though.
“We have to look at running this like a business,” council member Bill Steen said. “If you just go up 10 cents, you’re not going to be gaining very much.”
The 10 cent increase would raise the minimum water bill in Adairville from $25.88 to $26.08.
The council also talked about added an automatic annual rate increase like the city of Auburn did three years ago the last time LTRWC raised its prices.
Because of that, Auburn will not have to raise its water rates this year to compensate for what LTRWC did.
Blake said the city’s water department has been operating at a loss for several years in a row now.
“We can’t keep operating at a loss,” Blake said.
Also, the city has been putting off doing some necessary improvements and repairs to its water infrastructure in recent years and may not be able to do so for much longer.
“We haven’t been maintaining like we should have,” Blake said. “We’ve got some valves that - if something happened to them - it could shut the whole city down.”
Blake said she was already looking into getting a community development block grant (CDBG) to help pay for some of the necessary repairs and improvements, but that means a similar grant would be out for the fire department.
“They will only let you apply for one of those every year,” Blake said. “And I hate that because I really want the fire department to have a new building.”
The council decided to think about the issue a while longer and make a decision at next month’s council meeting.
The LTRWC increase will go into effect on March 1.