KIMBALL, Tenn. - After city leaders in South Pittsburg, Tenn., raised sewer rates by 40 percent in October, Kimball's commercial sewer rates will increase, too, since that town is one of South Pittsburg's customers.
Kimball's residential sewer rate ordinance is worded so that fees move up or down depending on South Pittsburg's rates.
The Kimball Board of Mayor and alderman voted late last week on first reading to increase the minimum monthly commercial sewer bill to $100 for up to 3,000 gallons of treated sewage.
The change includes a 40 percent increase in the city's overage charges from $5 to $7 per 1,000 gallons.
"If you don't make some adjustment, then [Kimball's] revenue is going to be depleted and you're going to wind up in the hole," City Attorney Billy Gouger said.
South Pittsburg has been charging overages at $4.76 per 1,000 gallons since Oct. 1, officials said, and its previous rate was $3.40 before the increases.
Kimball's new overage charge will enlarge the "cushion" the city has between its rate and South Pittsburg's by only "a little bit," Gouger said.
"At least [Kimball] is not going the opposite direction, which could be disastrous for its sewer fund," he said.
Alderman Mark Payne said raising the overall charge by 40 percent makes sense.
"It's going to affect some [businesses], but we don't have that many large users," he said.
Mayor David Jackson said more changes will be made to the ordinances governing commercial sewer rates for the second and final reading in December so the charges will fluctuate automatically with South Pittsburg's rates, just like the residential ones.
"I think that would be the wise thing to do because, if not, you're back here two or three years later having to change this thing again," he said.
If approved in December, the commercial rate increases will take effect Jan. 1, officials said.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at email@example.com.