Money was a big topic at this month’s Yatesville City Council meeting, with the council members discussing the 2015 budget, a possible increase in water rates, and what projects can be done with funding the city receives from the 2016 SPLOST if it were to pass.
The 2015-2016 budget was unanimously approved for $236,497. Mayor Cecil Moncrief stated that amount included a raise for the clerk, but did not give raises to anyone else.
Moncrief also told the council they would likely have to look into raising the water rates for the city, as they took nearly $17,000 out of the special fund balance last year to help cover costs incurred by the water department. Council member Robert Releford agreed that something would have to be done because they could not keep pulling money from that account to cover things.
According to council member Ronnie Riggins, there are major leaks somewhere in the city’s water system, as in the past two months records are showing they lost around 1,289,320 gallons of water that are unaccounted for. Riggins stated that in April 2015, the Magnolia well pulled 271,900 gallons of water and the School well pulled 1,087,700 gallons of water. However, the city only billed for 782,550 gallons, meaning 577,050 gallons were lost throughout the system. He continued noting that in May 2015, the Magnolia well pulled 597,400 gallons and the School well pulled 1,103,000 gallons. Again, the city billed for only 988,130 gallons, meaning 712,270 gallons were lost. Council member Phyl Gatlin asked if part of the problem could be faulty meters that are not correctly recording the amount of water customers have used. Riggins stated it is possible faulty meters are contributing to some, but he is hard pressed to believe they are responsible for that much of a loss.
“We all need to be on the lookout,” said Mayor Moncrief. “We’ve got a leak somewhere.”
Fixing the issues with the water system is a main project the council is looking to use funding from the next SPLOST to complete. The 2016 SPLOST is quickly approaching, however Yatesville does not know how much funding they will get as of yet because Upson County and the City of Thomaston have not discussed whether it will be a five-year or a six-year SPLOST, nor how much is projected to be collected if the citizens approve the SPLOST when they go to the poles. Mayor Moncrief stated the City of Yatesville received around $130,000 as their share of the 2011 SPLOST and would hopefully receive at least that much again.
Another project the city is looking into is renovating the Community Building and part of the Senior Center. Council member Phyl Gatlin suggested designating $25,000 for the project and then putting the rest of the money the city receives towards the water project. Council member Riggins stated he felt it all needed to go towards water.
“I hate to take anything out of the water (project) because we need it terrible,” said Gatlin, “but at the same time, that community building looks terrible and we all use it.”
Mayor Moncrief suggested the council decide on the projects once they find out how much money they would receive from the SPLOST and then adjust what they do accordingly.
In other business, Council member Shane Moore told the council he had received two quotes to fix the leaking roof at the Yatesville Fire Department from Kellet and Sons and Storm Doctors. Storm Doctors was the low bid at $19,045 and was approved by the council. Council member Riggins abstained from voting because he knew the owner personally.
Finally, Council member Robert Releford was approved to serve another term on the Transportation Committee.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1