Gaps in the budget for the Paden City water department have forced the municipality to explore a water rate increase.
The Paden City Council reviewed the Rule 42/Performa supplied to them by Abraham & Company. The firm suggested the council approve an 18.5 percent increase for water service. This amounts to an increase $5.12 per month, per customer, bringing the water rate to $32.82, plus tax.
Mayor Bill Fox advised the councilmen that their only other recourse would be to install water meters. However, this could cost the property owners in excess of $1,000, initially. "No one can afford an increase," he said. "But what can we do?"
Councilman Dan Probst said, "We need to discuss this. A miscalculation over the past several years has gotten us here. I went into the meeting (with Abraham & Company) thinking I wasn't going to increase anyone's rates. But we don't have a choice."
"But, along with raising the rates, we, as councilmen, need to halt our spending. Right now the water department doesn't have enough coming in to pay the bills," Probst added.
Councilman Tom Trader agreed with Probst's suggestion of fiscal responsibility. "If we raise the water rates, we need to show we are taking measures to save, as well."
"Our job is to save the residents money," Fox remarked. "We have a great water system, but our rates are behind every other municipality."
Feeling it was in the best interest of the city and the citizens of Paden City, the council agreed to move forward with the increase. The process, however, requires the city to vote again on the measure before it takes effect. Unless the Public Service Commission grants emergency concessions for the City of Paden City, rates will be changed 45 days after the second reading of the ordinance to increase the rates.
In another matter, Michael Adams of Change, Inc. appeared before the Paden City Council Monday evening seeking support for the construction of a multi-unit rental property in the city limits.
According to Adams, his firm is looking at a parcel of land located at the corner of 8th Avenue and Witschey Street. The proposed rental units will serve qualified, low income families. "We want to build in the lots that are currently for sale," Adams explained. "We have reached a verbal agreement with the land owners. We would like to have the council's support of the project."
He added, "I would like to think we could start moving dirt by next fall."
Change, Inc. was established by the Weirton Ministerial Association in 1983 for the sole purpose of addressing the concerns of the workers laid-off from National Steel Corporation's Weirton plant.
Since that time, Change, Inc. has evolved into a private, non-profit Community Action and Community Health Agency that provides a variety of programs to individuals and families residing within the northern panhandle of West Virginia and surrounding communities in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Also, Maintenance Director Clifford Duke requested permission to purchase two tires for the back-hoe at a cost of $1,400. The expense will be split between the water, sewer, and general funds.
Before approving the measure, Councilman Glen Casteel commented on the use of the back-hoe. "I feel the vehicle is on the roadway too much," he said. "It's used for transportation. I you're not digging a hole, it shouldn't leave the garage."
Councilman Matt Ferrebee remarked, "It has a lot of uses." He noted the piece of equipment is used for putting up the Christmas lights and flags.
According to Duke, the tires are replaced every three years.
The council discussed a resolution for the approval of the ninth, and final, drawdown for the Sewer Rehabilitation Project. Citing corrective measures which have yet to be addressed, Councilman Ferrebee said, "We turned over a list to the engineering firm. He needs to determine if the corrective measures meet his criteria."
The areas the council feels should be corrected before the drawdown is approved have been narrowed down to nine areas. The final invoice totals more than $200,000.
Councilman Larry Potts made a motion to approve the payment of the bill. There was no second.
Probst suggested tabling the matter, pending a telephone conference with the engineering firm. The remaining councilmen agreed.