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Carmi City Council votes to raise water rates, adds meter charge

The Carmi City Council on Tuesday, and concluded business much quicker than the last meeting for August.

A public hearing on the new TIF district for Main Street and East Carmi will be held on October 4 just before the scheduled Council meeting that evening.

The Council unanimously agreed to raise water rates by 7% and begin billing on the 10ths of gallons instead of the 1000s of gallons used.   Both measures were deemed necessary last month due to mounting losses at the utility.  City water customers should see the increases on next month’s bill.

In an effort to secure funding on the water pump project from the Illinois EPA, a flat $4 water meter fee was passed unanimously as well.  The fee will not be charged if the IEPA loan is not given final approval, and Mayor Pollard reminded residents that they can opt out of the Aqualink program as a way to offset the new fee.

Alderman Headlee informed the Council about the Debt Recovery Program from the Illinois Comptroller’s Office, where written off bills can be entered into the State’s system up to 7 years back, and if any money such as tax refunds comes to those who owe the City, it will be paid to the City.  Headlee said that Grayville has had success with the program, which is free to join.  The motion passed unanimously.

A proposal to create an ordinance allowing Aldermen to participate in Council meetings died due to lack of motion mainly due to the restrictions on such action by the Illinois Municipal League would require the City to purchase new equipment.  It was agreed that if an issue arises in the future, the idea would be revisited.

Mayor Pollard relayed that the City will be receiving an award from the Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies.

City Supervisor Mike Buckman told the Council that he was reminding residents that the City will be flushing fire hydrants starting next week, and also wanted to remind residents to use caution around power lines and electrical boxes on the ground around their properties.  Buckman said that there had been a few recent issues where residents could have been badly injured or killed, and that any type of work being done around power connections and lines should only start after contacting the City.

Buckman also reported that while he has not yet met with railroad officials about the Stewart Street crossing due to work being performed in Kentucky by the company, that the project will go forward when the railroad is able.  They will also be sending a cleanup crew to trim back brush at other crossings in Carmi to improve visibility.

The Council will meet again on September 20 at 5:30.