Rainsville to change utility rates after more than 15 years

The Rainsville City Council Monday night approved a partnership between the city of Rainsville and the Waterworks Board of Section and Dutton.

“We’ve been working for a long time on trying to come up with a good way of doing sewer billing for the city and we’ve finally partnered with Section Water to start doing our billing for our sewer customers,” said Rainsville Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt.

The new partnership will allow the city to outsource part of their sewer billing operations and with it, customer rates will change.

“They bill with a minimum on residential, that minimum will be $26.38,” Lingerfelt said. “If you’re using an amount of water above the minimum then it will be higher than that.”

The council announced the decade-old sewer rates change comes due to the number of funds it takes to operate, upgrade and maintain the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

According to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Environmental Finance Center, water and sewer rate setting is one of a local government’s most important environmental and public health responsibilities. Water and sewer rates ultimately determine how much revenue a community will have to maintain vital infrastructure.

As stated by ADEM, high rates do not necessarily reflect poor or inefficient management. Some utilities with low rates do not generate sufficient revenue to properly maintain their system’s assets, thereby reducing short-term investments that are likely to have long-term adverse cost and service impacts.

impacts.

“This is just something that’s got to be done,” said Lingerfelt. “Our wastewater treatment plant takes a tremendous amount of money to keep it up.”

He said because of the city's wastewater treatment plant Rainsville has seen growth over the past 25 to 30 years.

“Having a wastewater treatment plant is the reason for that but you still have to be able to maintain it, keep everything going and keep it up to date,” Lingerfelt said.

More than five years ago, the council was advised by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the city would have to start looking at updating its rates. Lingerfelt said they have recently spoken about the matter again.

“Most of the people in the city will be billed by the [Waterworks Board of Section and Dutton] but there’s one group under contract with the city which we will have to keep,” he said. “But everyone else will make the switch.”

The council unanimously approved the sewer contract with the Waterworks Board of Section and Dutton during Monday evening's regularly scheduled meeting.

“One thing we will do within the next week or so is send out letters explaining more in detail about the change to every sewer customer,” Lingerfelt said.

Sewer customers will notice a change to their sewer bills starting in July.

Annual Street Paving Project

During the Monday evening work session, Councilman Ricky Byrum also announced the latest streets the council is looking at for this year's street paving project.

The following streets were announced: Malcolm Avenue Southwest, Rabbit Run Road Southwest, Tucker Road Southwest and Santileon Lane in Rainsville.

Byrum said by working on those areas, they would “pretty much” clean up the southwest part of the town and next year they can move over to the Northside of Rainsville.

“The cost is estimated at somewhere around $260,000,” he said. “I’d like to go ahead and bring that out for bid.”

The council unanimously approved to move forward with their Paving Project during the regularly scheduled meeting.

The council also heard updates from the following departments:

Councilman Brandon Freeman took the opportunity to congratulate the Plainview High School softball team for their recent 3A state championship title. He said this was the first time Plainview ever had a female sports team win a state title and they are very proud of them. The Bears’ state title became the first for a DeKalb County softball program since Ider’s 2A championship win in 2009, according to the AHSAA website.

Freeman also announced the annual Rainsville Freedom Run is Saturday, June 19 and will include a 5K, 10K, 5K Elite and 10K Elite. For additional information and to register visit runsignup.com and search Rainsville Freedom Run 10K and 5K or visit the Rainsville Freedom Run Facebook page to follow a link.

Rainsville Fire Chief Willimac Wright reminded the public the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s annual burn ban began May 1, 2021, through Oct. 31, 2021, as part of ADEM efforts to protect air quality in various areas of the state.

Rainsville Library Director Sarah Cruze announced their Summer Reading Program kicked off on Tuesday, June 1 and saw 91 children come through the first day. For additional information visit and follow the Rainsville Public Library Facebook page at @rainsvillelibrary.

Rainsville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandy Goff reminded the public the Rainsville Freedom Fest is Saturday, June 26 at the Field of Dreams Sports Complex from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. The 2021 event is featuring John Stone in concert along with multiple other entertainment acts, pony rides, rock climbing wall, face painting, mechanical bull, a wide variety of food, arts and crafts vendors finishing off with a firework show at 9 p.m.

The council also:

• approved Resolution 06-07-2021(A) on the applications for sign permit and pricing.

• approved the purchasing of a computer and software for the Rainsville Annex at the cost of $1108.60.

• approved to send Johnathan Honey of the Rainsville Police Department to training from June 15 through 17 at no cost.

• approved the purchase of two cameras from GLC Enterprise, Inc. for the Rainsville Police Department at the cost of $467.95.

• approved bid by Michael Wilbanks for the trimming of trees on Hodges Street at the cost of $950.00. Freeman abstained from voting.

• approved the purchase of guardrails for the Boozer Bridge Project at the cost of $15,040 with funds coming from the Rebuild Alabama Act, for road and bridge projects.

• approved the purchase of 100 garbage cans from Toter at the cost of $7,102.40.

• approved the purchase of a new Zero-Turn (ZDAS11) Kubota Lawn Mower for the Field of Dreams Sports Complex at the cost of $13,900.

• approved Resolution 06-07-2021(B) for the surplus of two Hustler lawn mowers.

• approved the Real Estate Contract for the purchase of the Terry Taylor property. Lingerfelt abstained from voting.

• approved to empower Lingerfelt to set up the financing for the real estate contract of the Terry Taylor property with First Southern State Bank. Councilmen Byrum and Arlan “Monk” Blevins abstained from voting.

• approved to use Ladd Environment Consultants, Inc. firm for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Sewer. Councilman Bejan Taheri abstained from voting.

• approved to appoint Community Consultants as grant writers for the ADECA grant.

The next council meeting is scheduled for June 21, 2021, with a workshop at 4 p.m. and a regular session at 4:30 p.m.

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