Consultant: Raise city’s water rates

By BUSTER WOLFE,

A consultant who studied Hattiesburg’s water rate structure said the city should raise rates to meet its requirements in the future. City officials said they would explore all possible solutions before considering rate increases.

Shea McNease, an engineer with Shows, Dearman & Waits, Inc., told the City Council on Monday inefficiencies exist in terms of operation and maintenance of the city’s water system. He said he hoped his study would create a baseline document regarding the water rates.

“Historically, (the rates) have been consistent, economical and insufficient to keep up with the system maintenance,” he said, showing a chart comparing Hattiesburg’s water rate with the national average. “In 1990, Hatties-

burg was close to the national average, within $2. However, by 2014, there was a $20 difference in rates.”

McNease said incremental increases in the water rates began in about 2005, while major changes are more recent.

“We are behind in terms of keeping proper management,” he said. “The infrastructure ranges from the 1920s to the present. Inefficiencies exist in terms of operation and maintenance. If you don’t systemically replace the older infrastructure, more problems will develop.”

Among the conclusions that McNease presented were:

• Rate models should be updated annually.

• A comprehensive rate study should be done every five years.

• A greater investment is needed in the system for maintenance.

• Efficiencies should be eliminated.

• Rates should increase to keep pace with future investment requirements.

After the meeting, Mayor Toby Barker said city officials realize that the water system infrastructure is going to face a lot of pressure.

“There were several decades when we didn’t do enough investment, so now we continue to look at how we’re continuing to update our infrastructure,” he said. “We know we have investments we have to make. We know the federal government is getting on us about our sanitary sewer overflows.”

Maintenance and repairs are expensive, Barker said.

“Going through, digging up and replacing sewer lines costs money,” he said. “Finally dealing with our brown-water issues once and for all takes money. When we ask people to pay more, we are going to try to exercise every avenue we have.”

In other action Tuesday during the meeting, the City Council:

• Approved Minutes of the Feb. 5, 6 and 20, 2018, City Council meetings.

• Adopted a Resolution declaring certain vehicles as surplus, authorizing the sale of surplus vehicles at auction and the removal of said vehicles from the inventory of the Hattiesburg Police Department.

• Adopted a Resolution to declare the following vehicles as surplus and donating them to police departments: a 2008 Crown Victoria and a 2009 Crown Victoria to the Lumberton Police Department, a 2009 Dodge Charger to Wiggins Police Department, a 2007 Crown Victoria to Metcalfe Police Department, and a 2009 Dodge Charger to Petal School District.

•Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute certification to the Municipal Compliance Questionnaire for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017.

•Authorized Mayor to execute five copies of contract with Greater Southeast Construction, LLC for the Sullivan Park Pavilion Project.

•Authorized Mayor to execute lighting agreement with Mississippi Power Company for lighting at the intersection of Grace Avenue and West Seventh Street for a net increase of $47.12 to the monthly bill.

•Authorized Mayor to execute Supplemental Agreement No. 15 with ARE Consultants, Inc. in duplicate for Engineering Design services associated with the Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport Runway 13-31 Safety and Drainage Improvements - Partial Parallel Taxiway Improvement Part 2 Project.

•Authorized Mayor to execute Supplemental Agreement No. 16 with ARE Consultants, Inc. in duplicate for Construction Engineering & Inspection services associated with the Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport Runway 13-31 Safety and Drainage Improvements – Partial Parallel Taxiway Improvement Part 2 Project.

•Authorized the Mayor to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with Mississippi state Medical Association Alliance and the City of Hattiesburg Police Department to specify the obligations of both entities with respect to the collection, packaging, destruction, recording and reporting of the MedReturn Drug Collection Unit contents.

•Approved the revised City of Hattiesburg Employee Handbook.

•Approved an amended Task Order No. 5 with Shows, Dearman and Waits, Inc. to provide

•professional services for a Comprehensive Sanitary Sewer Study for data collection, inspection and evaluation of the City's wastewater system.

•Approved and Authorized Mayor to grant a Time Extension of 60 Calendar Days to Warren Paving, Inc. for the Hattiesburg Clinic Access Road project due to inclement weather conditions.

•Approved "As Built" Change Order for the Bobby L. Chain Airport Taxiway A Extension project to adjust estimated quantities to actual quantities for a net decrease to the contract of $31,986.70; Authorize Mayor to execute in triplicate.

•Approved and Authorized Mayor to execute sponsorship agreement between the City of Hattiesburg and Hattiesburg High School for sponsorship in the USA Baseball National High School Invitational Tournament in an amount not to exceed $5,000.

•Approved request of reclassification of one part-time Records Clerk position to become a part-time Evidence Crime Scene Technician and increase the pay rate to $15 per hour, in accordance with Ordinance 3154.

•Received a letter from the state granting the requested ad valorem tax exemption to BP Rex Closures, LLC, for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $1,603,057; adopted final order allowing same.

•Received a letter from the state granting ad valorem tax exemption to Dirt Cheap Building Supplies, LLC for no more than five years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2021, for $592,837; adopted final order allowing same.

•Received a letter from the state granting ad valorem tax exemption to Mississippi Tank Company, for no more than five years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2021, for $1,974,092; adopted final order allowing same.

•Received a letter from the state granting ad valorem tax exemption to York International Corp, for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $1,856,803; adopted final order allowing same.

• Received a letter from the state granting ad valorem tax exemption to Western Container Corporation, for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $11,822,91; adopted final order allowing same.

•Received a letter from the state granting ad valorem tax exemption to Sofidel America Corp., for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $32,359,043; adopted final order allowing same.

•Received a letter from the state granting the requested ad valorem tax exemption to CCM Capital Assets, LLC., for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $3,871,008; adopted final order allowing same.

•Acknowledge receipt of letter from the state granting the requested ad valorem tax exemption to Excel Injection Molding, Inc., for no more than five years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2021, for $476,385; adopted final order allowing same.

•Acknowledge receipt of letter from the state granting the requested ad valorem tax exemption to Green Bay Converting, Inc., for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $1,561,338.00; adopted final order allowing same.

•Acknowledge receipt of letter from the state granting an ad valorem tax exemption to Wis-Pak of Hattiesburg, LLC , for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $6,326,489; adopted final order allowing same.

•Received a letter from the state granting the requested ad valorem tax exemption to Mar-Jac Poultry MS, LLC, for no more than five years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2021, for $2,913,838; adopted final order allowing same.

•Received a letter from the state allowing the requested ad valorem tax exemption to SPG Holdings DBA Hattiesburg Paper, for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $ 4,174,137; and adopted final order allowing the same.

•Received a letter from the state allowing the requested ad valorem tax exemption to Zeon Chemicals, L.P., for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2026, for $1,106,470; and adopted final order allowing the same.

•Acknowledge receipt of letter from the state granting the requested ad valorem tax exemption to Kohler Company, for no more than 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2021, for $7,397,461; and adopted final order allowing the same.

•Approved and Authorized advertisement for Request for Proposals for Hub City Transit Farebox Management System.

•Approved and authorized issuance of manual check for CDBG Program Claims per the memorandum.

•Approve claims docket for the period ending Feb. 28, 2018.

 

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