The DeKalb Utility District, for the second consecutive year, will be increasing water rates effective with bills due on July 10.
The seven percent rate hike last year and the seven percent increase this year is to help pay for construction of a water treatment plant. The DUD currently plans to increase rates again next year by up to another seven percent.
Basic rates for customers who use up to 2,000 gallons per month will increase by $1.33 to $20.33 (minimum bill) effective with bills due July 10. For monthly usage above 2,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons, the costs will be an additional $7.55 per thousand, an increase of 50 cents per thousand gallons. Customers who use more than 5,000 gallons per month will pay an additional $8.10 per thousand, also an increase of 50 cents per thousand. These rates will apply to all DeKalb Utility District customers except those who reside north of Hurricane bridge.
A customer, for example, who uses 6,000 gallons of water per month will see their bill increase from $47.75 to $51.08 plus tax.
DUD Board Chairman Roger Turney has explained during board meetings in the past year that while rates would have to increase over a three year period beginning last year, they will actually stabilize, if not decrease in time with this new plant. "We had to project to the state what our rate increases would be in order to pay for this water treatment plant. Our board passed a seven percent rate increase for last year, seven percent this year, and seven percent the third year with the stipulation that the third year that seven percent increase may not be that much. Let's talk about what that really means. At the end of that three years, the minimum bill will go up four dollars and twenty cents. That's not going to break anybody. I don't want anybody's water rate to go up but that's a small price to pay. We figure that our average customer uses about 6,000 gallons. At the end of the three year period, their water bill will go up $10.55," he said.
The DUD has been approved to receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000 through the USDA Rural Development program and an Appalachian Regional Commission grant award in the amount of $500,000 to fund construction of a three million gallon a day water plant. The terms of the loan are forty years at 2.75% interest. The remaining $4,250,000 needed to build the $10.5 million facility is to be funded through a bond issue. Turney has said that the DUD also plans to refinance other loans to save money. "In this loan and grant we have applied for, we're refinancing some of the loans we already have at a savings of over $400,000 on the money that we have right now because of the historically low interest rates," he said.
The water plant project has been held up for several months after a group of DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville, contending that a DUD water plant and subsequent water rate increases because of it were unnecessary, petitioned the state for a DUD rate review. The state's Utility Management Review Board held a hearing last month in Smithville and dismissed the ratepayer's petition. After a final order from that hearing is filed, the ratepayers and city have sixty days to file an appeal.
Smithville Detective Matt Holmes has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, effective July 1.
The aldermen Monday night voted unanimously to make the promotion upon the recommendation of Police Chief Randy Caplinger. Holmes' status as detective will be elevated to lead detective within the police department with this promotion.
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"Even though he is young, Matt is one of the older officers here," said Chief Caplinger. "When Matt was promoted to detective, it carries the rank of a sergeant. If anyone can't reach me, he is the man they call if we are going to a crime scene. I use him in a lot in the supervisory positions. The men (police officers) have a real good rapport with Matt. He has been a very special officer for all of us. Since he (Matt) has been here if you'll go back a few years I think you'll notice how much of a change there has been in investigations and crimes that have been solved. There has been a lot of good things done. We've really worked a good undercover drug program. We're still working that. We're working on a lot of things right now. As a detective, you are really not supervising the men. If he needs someone on the scene, he is in charge of that scene. As far as being a supervisor in other capacities, whether it be on a wreck or whatever, then he (Matt) has that authority (as lieutenant) to tell those officers what we need to be doing if I'm not here. The promotion will take effect July 1 with the new budget. I want to use Matt now for about the next month and a half until July 1 to help me in this capacity, to be learning and doing things. He has put a lot of effort into this (career) and he has a lot of specialized training," said Chief Caplinger
"I'm very proud of Matt Holmes," said Alderman and Police Commissioner Shawn Jacobs. "He came to work for us before I was even on the council. You could tell there was something special about Matt even then. As he was eventually promoted to detective and now receiving another department promotion tonight to lead detective, we have something to be very proud of in Matt and also detective (Brandon) Donnell. I think we have two of the best. I don't think a town this size could want anything any better than these two men and I'm just very proud of the job they do and the rapport they have with the people as well. They are just fine young men and I hope they become fine old men in the service of the Smithville Police Department," said Alderman Jacobs.
After graduating from DeKalb County High School, Detective Holmes furthered his education at the Tennessee Technology Center. He graduated from Walter State Community College and began his career with the Smithville Police Department in 2007. Holmes was later promoted to the rank of Detective.
He is a graduate of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation School and is certified by the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force in drug diversion and the Tennessee Meth Task Force. Holmes is certified in Child Passenger Safety, the United States Department of Justice Amber Alert training and technical assistance program and Pharmaceutical Overdose Death Investigations. During Detective Holmes' six years of employment, he has been awarded three departmental commendations for criminal investigations and narcotics arrests.
In other business, the aldermen named Dwain Snow to fill the unexpired term of Clay Farler on the city planning commission. Farler recently resigned the position.
The mayor and aldermen will also meet in an informal workshop on Tuesday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at city hall to make preparations for the 2013-14 city budget. Janice Plemmons, the city's financial advisor will also meet with the board during the workshop. "We will have the departmental heads come in and they will give us their wish list and go over the major projects for the upcoming year," said Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson.