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Water bills going up in Rosston

By John Miller, 07/12/22 2:32 PM

ROSSTON – In the near future, customers of the Rosston rural water system will be seeing larger bills.

The Rosston City Council, at its July meeting Monday night, were told the city has no choice but to raise the water rates by 27.5 percent. This will amount to more than $6 a month. Rosston Mayor Dale Quarles said this still isn’t as high as water bills in other areas. The base rate for customers will be $30.06 once the ordinance pertaining to the water rates has been amended and approved by the council, which could be done by September. “It’s not like we have a choice,” Quarles said. “We’ve got to have money to go in the right direction.”

He pointed out the cost of literally everything has also increased, with the increases being passed on to consumers.

The council was informed the street aid project should begin soon, around July 27-28, with the area around the Nevada Schools to be done. Quarles said he will apply for further state aid so the city can complete work on Scenic Drive and on NC17.

The city hasn’t received any sales tax funds from the state as of yet, though collections started in April. Quarles said the city should be getting payments by now, adding the sales tax has amounted to around $2,600 a month since it began being collected, though the state does withhold fees. He said he’ll be calling the Arkansas Department of Treasury to find out what’s going on and where the money is going. It was pointed out the state wasn’t authorized to direct deposit the funds into the city’s account.

Quarles said people have been calling about their water bills, with 35-40 customers complaining. The bills and meters were checked, he said, with 99 percent showing there were leaks. The others were either due to damaged meters or dirt getting in the sensors. The new meters show when water goes through the system. Quarles said 80 percent of the leaks have been toilets running people didn’t notice.

In one instance, he said, it was discovered a customer was using 18,000 gallons of water because they didn’t know there was a leak in their system. These meters, he said, help the city be more accurate and do show leaks, though not their location. At times, it takes a while to find where the leak is.

Quarles said residents need to call the city clerk, who handles the water bills, when they have a complaint, and not him as it’s her job. The clerk, he continued, will notify him of any abnormal water  usage, possibly before bills are sent out.

In other business, the council was told the city’s finances look better this month and there was a surplus of $2,294, $1,100 coming from shutoff collections.

The council was reminded to get the petitions signed and turned in by Aug. 10 in order to remain on the panel. Quarles said they will need signatures from 10 registered voters within the Rosston city limits.