The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 3, 2013

Decatur delays vote on amending water rates

— A change to the city code that would allow the Decatur Crossing pipeline project to move forward will be considered within the next six weeks, according to Decatur City Councilman Chuck Ard.

Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority officials had expected the Decatur City Council to consider Monday a vote to amend the city code to establish a new rate schedule for resale water customers, and the item had previously been listed on the council’s official agenda.

If the revised measure receives approval by Decatur Utilities and the City Council, a proposed contract between LCWSA and Decatur to increase water flow into Limestone from 1.5 million to 6 million gallons per day would await final approval by the LCWSA board, which will meet July 25.

“If someone wants to begin re-selling more water than now, then they would go into a higher rate class,” Ard said Tuesday.

The proposed contract had minor changes that needed to be made, Ard said. The changes involve a fourth-rate plan, or a premium rate, for DU customers that purchase water and then sell to other customers. Ard said the changes would not affect previously negotiated water resale rates.

The Limestone utility, which already purchases water from Decatur, intends to construct a pipeline under the Tennessee River to pump water from Decatur into southern Limestone County. LCWSA General Manager Byron Cook declined further comment on the pipeline project Tuesday.

Ard said he expects the council to vote on the matter during its July 15 or Aug. 1 regular meeting. He said DU needs time to review the new contract and inform its customers about the changes.

“I think (the approval process) will go very quickly,” Ard said. “The contractual concerns I had have been taken care of since the contract was going to be between the city of Decatur and (LCWSA) and not between Decatur Utilities and (LCWSA). The city just needed to be involved in the decision process, and we made small changes. I do not believe this will impede the next vote by the council.

“The timing will really depend on getting everything approved with the new contract, and allowing Decatur Utilities enough time to make sure customers are okay with it. It’s not a lot of changes, and I would be surprised if it was met with any resistance from our side.”

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