For the first time in over a decade, Quincy water and sewer customers are going to see a rate hike after commissioners gave approval on first reading to Ordinance 1060-2014.
Those funding accounts are not generating sufficient revenues to cover operating and management (O&M) expenses, pay debt service or maintain a required bond debt coverage ratio, say Quincy officials. The water and sewer residential and commercial rates have not been adjusted for inflation and O&M costs in ten years.
Since those last adjustments, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) regulatory changes and enforcement activity with relation to the wastewater’s operation has increased costs of operations significantly, states a staff report. The city had been mandated to correct excessive inflow and infiltration of surface water into sewers during heavy rainfalls, and had assumed $500,000 in debt to help it comply with DEP’s mandate.
The water usage changes will range from 30 cents per 1,000 gallons used in a range of 3,001 to 12,999 gallons to 40 cents per 1,000 gallons used over 199,999 gallons. Sewer rate increase will vary from $2.75 for 3,000 gallons to $4.65 for 3,000 gallons, depending on the customers’ water meter. The changes will become effective 10/1/2015.
The city established an Audit Committee to help it be more effective in improving financial reporting quality with timelier audits at last Tuesday’s meeting.
That committee will assist the board in selecting its annual auditor, states a staff report. The city will give preference to those with accounting or auditing experience. “This will give a higher level of oversight (over finances),” said Interim Finance Director Jeff Williams.
“We’ve had a recommendation from our auditors every year for years (to have the committee). I’m glad we’re finally getting one,” said Commissioner Andy Gay.
Quincy has approved a consultant to help the city prepare a master plan for the downtown district. “This is very important to guide us in good management for downtown,” said Bernard Piawah, the city’s planning director.
The board approved Atkins-Joel Sampson & Associates as its number one choice of the four applicants, with a caveat that if estimated costs come in over $50,000 that the selection goes to the number two-ranked company, Tindale Oliver.
Corry Field will be used more often after the Quincy commission voted to allow the Tallahassee Wolves, a semi-pro football team, to use the field for five games after they were unable to get an agreement with a field in Tallahassee. The board voted 3-1 to allow them to rent the field for the games.
Commissioner Derrick Elias was the one ‘no’ vote. Commissioner Micah Brown abstained because he once had a contract with the team.
The games will be played on February 22nd, March 8th, March 15th, April 5th and April 12th.
Longtime Gadsden County Times reporter and editor Alice Dupont was honored for her 30 years of journalism with the newspaper at the meeting, with the commission extending congratulations and best wishes for happiness and good health to her.