By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
The city of Eupora will proceed with increasing the amount it charges the Sapa Water Association to supply it with water.
The board in November authorized a rate increase to the water system of $3.20 per thousand gallons, double the current $1.60 per thousand. SWA President Fred Rose addressed the board Jan. 6 about the proposed increase, stating that he did not believe the city was charging other outside systems as much as it was Sapa.
Rose said he wanted the water rates to be fair and equitable, and Mayor Dan Burchfield agreed to have City Engineer Stanley Spradling study the city’s water rates and present a cost analysis. The board tabled the matter and the proposed rate increase for Sapa was put on hold.
The mayor reported at a recessed meeting on Jan. 21 that Spradling had since calculated Eupora’s cost of delivering water — inside or outside the city limits — as being $4.90 per thousand gallons.
Burchfield stressed that this was a preliminary figure. However, in a subsequent interview he said, “We do feel comfortable that it is at least $4 (per thousand gallons.)”
Based upon November’s vote regarding the rate increase, no additional action was taken but the board agreed with Burchfield’s recommendation to begin the rate increase for the Sapa water system at $3.20 per thousand gallons with the February billing.
“It is definitely fair and equitable,” Burchfield told aldermen. He said an in-depth cost analysis will be presented later regarding the city’s water costs.
Burchfield said many houses in Eupora are in violation of the city’s blight ordinance. He recommended that the aldermen take it upon themselves to make note of structures in their individual wards that “fit” the ordinance so that the city can start the process of sending letters to violators giving them a deadline to clean up their properties or face a fine. He said the majority are out-of-town property owners.
Jerry Gary (at-large) said he had taken photos of at least dozen properties around the city that he considered to be in violation of the blight ordinance.
Hugh Gibson (Ward 3) said, “We need to try to make our town a little bit better.”
Burchfield said junked vehicle are also increasing.
Additionally last week, aldermen discussed having an annual Water Department disaster drill.
“I’d like two see our generators hooked up to the wells and do a power-down disaster drill to make sure they’re working,” Gary said, adding that he would like to see the same done using tractor PTOs.
Burchfield agreed to schedule this and make the aldermen aware of the date so that they may observe if desired.
Burchfield reported that budget adjustments the board discussed Nov. 18 had been made by Tony Thompson with Deep South Software Solutions and were in effect. Aldermen had voted to make budget adjustments following guidelines of the mayor’s suggestions.
The mayor said the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality had accepted the city’s emergency action plan for Whites Creek Lake and sent it to all appropriate agencies.
Burchfield reported that the city had been awarded a Let’s Play Maintenance Grant of $750 from KaBOOM! for the playground at Whites Creek Lake.
Another agenda item, judge and prosecutor salaries, was tabled indefinitely. The next regular meeting of the board is at 6 p.m. Feb. 3.