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Wesson aldermen approve water, sewer rate increases

WESSON — Town residents saw a hike in water and sewage feesTuesday night as the mayor and board of alderman looked for ways tobalance the budget in that area.

Water fees rose to $14 for the first 2,000 gallons used eachmonth with an additional charge of $2.50 for every additional 1,000gallons a month.

Sewage fees will be 80 percent of the water bill starting nextmonth, said Mayor Bill Tigner after the board voted to approve thenew fees.

“By state law this board is required and held liable asindividuals to make sure that our water system operates with apositive budget,” said Tigner.

Water fees were at $10.80 for the first 3,000 gallons, withsewage fees at $10.80 for the first 8,000 gallons plus a $1.62 feeadded for every additional 1,000 gallons.

The discussion about the water and sewage system came afterCharles Hart, a certified public accountant, reported to the boardthe results of the 2001 audit. Hart pointed out that at currentrates the water and sewage system were not self-sufficient asrequired by law.

“That’s the primary reason why your general fund dwindled theway it did, because you were having to support the water and sewagefund with it,” he said.

The water and sewage fund was cushioned the last few years by a$12,000 payment from First Environmental for lease of the town’sold water wells.

Mississippi Rural Water Association representatives have beenstudying the town’s water support problem for about a month andtheir main suggestion was to increase the fees.

Town Clerk Linda Dykes also suggested to board members that theytake a look at the monthly deposit made into a water account. Thetown must pay $50,000 a year to Rural Development for a loan on thetown’s water wells.

Her idea was supported by Hart who pointed out that the $4,200 amonth would not be quite enough with lower interest rates.

“Your interest this year will be about half of what it was lastyear,” he said.

Board members agreed to increase the payment by $100 to make upfor the difference in interest rates.

“Hopefully this will be a step in the right direction,” saidWard Four Alderman Hollis Cowen Jr.

Following an executive session, board members voted to haveLance Falvey serve as acting police chief while Police Chief FrankCoker recovers from a heart attack and an aneurysm on hisheart.

“It will be challenging, but I certainly feel up to the job,”said Falvey.

He has served as a part-time officer for several months with theWesson Police Department. He works full-time as an investigatorwith the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, where he has beenemployed for eight years.

Falvey believes he will be able to serve the town well whileCoker is out.

“We’ve got an outstanding group of men in the police departmenthere,” said Falvey. “We will continue to serve the citizens withthe law enforcement they expect and deserve.”

In other matters, board members looked at possible changes inzoning ordinances concerning trailers, open containers, “junk”vehicles and Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Zoning chairman Bob Meteer presented several proposals for thechanges board members requested at the last meeting.

Talk of tightening the ordinance on mobile homes brought aboutseveral opposing opinions on how the town should address thesituation.

“We have some that are in such poor condition we don’t need toallow the property to stay in the same condition and not have anysay so,” said Tigner.

Ward One Alderman Robert Derrick said it would be ideal to nothave any trailers in the town, but he did not believe that waspossible. He pointed out that many young couples and single peoplecould not afford to build a house and there were not many housesfor sale in the area.

Alderman at large David Douglas and Cowen agreed, saying thatcompletely restricting trailers from Wesson would increase thevalue of property, but would not go over well with theresidents.

Many residents have trailers in their yards to house theirelderly parents, so they may take care of them.

Further discussion on what type of trailer ordinance the townshould adopt will be held at the next board meeting at 7 p.m.,April 2.

Board members and residents will also look closer at otherpossible changes in ordinances at that time.