Water Industry News
Carl Junction, MO considers tapping residents' wallets to diminish
deficits and add fluoride to drinking water
By Jeff Wells
Globe Staff Writer
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. - Growing
deficits in Carl Junction's water fund are prompting the City Council to
consider tapping into residents' wallets.
The council, meeting in a work session Tuesday night, heard the city's
engineering firm say that the city may have to postpone planned
maintenance and improvements unless a rate increase is approved.
The engineering firm has recommended a 15 percent increase for the
average user. The rates supported by the council are about a 10 percent
increase, said City Administrator Joe Barfield.
That proposal would increase the residential base rate to $5 from $4,
and the rate for each additional 1,000 gallons to $2.36 from $2.25. The
increases, officials said, would push the bill for an average household
to $17.22 from $15.70 a month.
Barfield said Carl Junction expected a deficit in the water fund for a
few years after completing water-system projects earlier this year, but
construction costs were more than expected.
Water sales also have been lower than expected, Barfield said. The
council speculated that the slow sales could be attributed to the cool
summer the area experienced.
The $1.7 million project was designed to accommodate growth for 20
years, and improve water quality and pressure. The work was financed
with a loan designed to be paid off with revenue from residents' water
bills. The council did not raise rates when voters approved the plan.
Carl Junction last raised rates four years ago. Mayor Jim Wisdom said
the city needs to consider more frequent but smaller increases in the
Councilman Mike Palmer agreed that an immediate rate increase is needed,
and said another should be considered if voters in April approve adding
fluoride to the town's water.
The engineers said it would cost $110,000 to purchase and install
fluoridation equipment. Palmer said the city would likely pay that bill
with another loan and raise rates again to pay off the debt.
"If we go with fluoridation, we will definitely need an
adjustment," Palmer said.
But Palmer said the council should look at another rate increase next
spring regardless of what voters decide about fluoridation.
The council will consider an ordinance that would raise rates at its
Nov. 2 meeting.