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Midway water bill hike possible
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The Midway City Council will meet for a special session at 6 p.m. Thursday where council members likely will vote to increase the rates customers pay for water and sewer service.
Midway officials have consulted with the Georgia Rural Water Association and other experts for several months. Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington recently summed up the situation: “The bills will have to go up,” she said. “That’s it.”
In a planning meeting Monday, council members used the “bill” of a fictitious average customer to demonstrate the expected increase. A customer paying $39.26 per month would pay $53.93 per month in September when the hike takes effect.
The new rates will include a base rate (the cost of operating the city utilities), an administrative fee and a charge that will go toward paying off the city’s debt from a USDA community development loan. To encourage conservation, the cost of water per thousand gallons will increase as customers use more water.
Council member Melice Hamilton urged a prompt decision. “We’ve been talking about this since the first of the year,” she said.
Officials considered implementing the rate hike in two stages — one increase now and one later. Councilman Levern Clancy said, “I don’t think that will matter. People are going to get mad if you raise their rates. They will complain and raise [cain] and then they will accept it.”
Mayor Pro Tempore Curtes Roberts said he’s concerned about the impact on people with fixed incomes. But, he said, “I don’t think we have a choice, we’ve just got to bite the bullet.”
Engineers Paul Simonton and Matt Barrow told the council that much of the water system’s infrastructure is inadequate or deteriorating.
Simonton said the water mains along U.S. Highway 84 are under the roadway, making them difficult or impossible to repair. He said when the highway was widened years ago Midway could not afford to move the mains so the highway runs over them.
The engineer also said Midway’s well is about 40 years old. The well is composed of metal sections of casing welded together. Over the years, the welds will deteriorate and sand will enter the well. “When you start pumping sand, you’re in an emergency situation,” Simonton said.
Corresponding rate hikes are planned for water and sewer customers who live outside the Midway city limits.
If it’s approved, the council will notify customers of the increase on their next bills, which go out in a few days.

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