Lanett increasing water rates

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

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LANETT — City of Lanett water users will likely see a modest increase in what they are being charged. While the council has yet to take any action on an increase, Mayor Jamie Heard said at Monday’s council meeting that some increases would likely be on the way for both residential and commercial users.

At present, residents are being charged a minimum rate of $14.25 a month for usage of 3,000 gallons or less. What’s being looked at is keeping it at $14.25 per month for 2,000 gallons or less and an extra $6.25 for every 1,000 gallons more than that. “This increase probably won’t affect many seniors on fixed incomes,” the mayor said. “Most of them are using less than 2,000 gallons a month.”

The commercial rate being considered will be $26 for the first 1,000 gallons and $7.50 per every 1,000 gallons after that.

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Heard said that Lanett had been charging the lowest water rates in the local area but that some increases would be necessary due to the higher rates being passed on to the city by its water supplier, the Chattahoochee Valley Water Supply District. The CVWSD has been making some major improvements in its water processing plant located north of Kroger in Lanett. The city had been being charged around $44,000 a month for its water, and that is expected to rise significantly.

The city is now in the process of installing some new digital water meters for its commercial and residential users. These devices should be easier to read and should prevent water loss. At present some residential users and many commercial users have been paying the minimum rate for water because the old meters haven’t been working properly. Many of those meters have been in service since the 1970s.

The cost of water is something Lanett residents and businesses should be tracking in the coming months.

In other action at the Monday meeting, the council approved an expenditure of of $23,951.74 to repair a street sweeper. This will come out of the city’s American Rescue Funds. The work will be done by Tractor & Equipment Company in Columbus, Ga., the only qualified Deutz Diesel engine repair business within 50 miles.

A former city employee is said to have put unleaded gasoline in the street sweeper’s engine instead of the diesel fuel the engine runs on.

The mayor said some members of the council would be making visits to medium-sized cities in Alabama with busy airports. “We want to learn from others what they have been doing to be successful,” Mayor Heard said.

Lanett Recreation Department Director Trent McCants introduced members of a youth football team to the council. They competed in the 10 & under division of the East Central Alabama Youth Football League and recently won the championship game in LaFayette. The 12 & under team was runner up in its division. Competing in the league along with Lanett are teams from LaFayette, Beauregard, Beulah, Notasulga and Bullock County.

The council unanimously approved a proclamation recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Jonathan Herston of the Chambers County Circle of Care Center for Families and Vickie Dearing of Rape Counselors of East Alabama were there to receive copies of the proclamation, which was signed by Mayor Heard and City Clerk Deborah Gilbert.

“Human trafficking is a public health issue and criminal act that affects individuals, families and communities across generations, exploiting the most vulnerable among us and weakening our collective well being,” the proclamation reads. “Human trafficking occurs when an adult or child is recruited, harbored, obtained or exported through force, fraud, of coercion for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, involuntary servitude, debt bondage and other methods of slavery. An estimated 27.6 million people are subjected to human trafficking globally. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in every state and territory across the U.S. including here in our own community.”

The proclamation adds that a coordinated, community-wide response is needed to address this problem. “The City of Lanett supports partnerships to comprehensively address human trafficking and to create trafficking-free zones,”  the proclamation continues. “Human Trafficking Prevention Month is an opportunity to raise awareness and to educate everyone on how we can prevent and respond to human trafficking.”