Purdy City Council raises sewer rate

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

City approves utility increase to meet costs

Purdy residents can expect to see an increased sewer bill next month.

The city council approved a resolution increasing the city’s sewer free to $35 for the first 1,000 gallons of water used and an additional charge of $12.50 for any sewer use that exceeds 1,000 gallons per household.

Currently, Purdy residents are paying $30 for the first 1,000 gallons of sewage they dispose of, and $10 per additional 1,000 gallons.

The city council discussed raising the rates at its January meeting to account for rising costs associated with a USDA Rural Development Loan the city received in 2018 to update the city’s sewer system.

City Manager Debbie Redshaw said in January that city residents average about 5,000 gallons a month. That means the average Purdy resident is paying about $70 a month for sewer services.

Purdy is required to begin paying on its loan in July, and current rates will not cover the cost of the payments.

Redshaw said that the city, for the past two years, has been required to pay interest on the loan, and has been able to cover those costs.

With principal loan payments beginning in July, the city would need to receive an additional $13.50 per customer, per month to cover those payments.

The USDA requires the city, under the terms of the loan, to maintain a $32,760 debt service reserve, and put $22,000 per year into a replacement fund for the life of the debt.

The board voted 3-0 to approve the rate increase, with board member Scott Redshaw absent due to illness.

The council also approved a change to its sick leave policy, eliminating wording in the employee handbook that would cap employee sick leave. Scott Redshaw first proposed the change as a way to help compensate city employees with a job perk.

Before the amendment approved this month, city employee sick leave was capped at six weeks, or 240 hours.

At that meeting, Debbie Redshaw said four city employees had either accrued the maximum number of sick days, or were close to the limit.

“I personally think that this is a simple way to benefit the employees without costing a lot,” Scott Redshaw said in January.

The council voted unanimously, 3-0, with Scott Redshaw absent due to illness.

The city council also had a special guest at this month’s meeting.

Lifelong Purdy resident Heather VanNote was in attendance to introduce herself and get up to speed on the council’s efforts, as she is considering volunteering for appointment to the council’s empty seat.

In February 2020, council members accepted the brief resignation letter from Mayor Bo Prock, who moved outside the city limits.

Mayor Pro-Tem Brian Bowers has been filling the roll of mayor since that time, and will be appointed mayor in April, when his term as a council member expires.

With no candidates filing papers to appear on the April ballot, the Purdy council was looking at spending another year or more with an empty seat.

VanNote said her father is a former Purdy council member and has been interested in civic duty. She said she was approached by Scott Redshaw recently, who encouraged her to attend some meetings and consider volunteering for appointment to the vacant seat.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: