Newport City Council Approves Water Rate Increase

NEWPORT CITY - For years, equitable and fair water and sewer rates have been a topic of discussion among Newport City residents, business owners, and the city council.Council members who attended their meeting Monday evening voted unanimously to increase water rates by 3.3 percent. The water rates become affective Feb. 1. In dollars and cents, the increase is about a $1.70 per quarter. Sewer rates will remain the same as they are now.The city needs to put a cover on the reservoir, said City Manager John Ward, Jr. In addition, the city has to put money aside to paint the water tower. The city already spent some of the money in the surplus account. It will use the remaining money, about $200,000, to finish the waterline, Ward said.The city had a water rate increase five years ago and actually had a decrease per living unit charge in 2010. The second option to the increase was to borrow the money and pay the interest, but that is something Ward didn’t favor.“I have a major issue with this,” said city resident Pam Ladds of the water rate increase. “I live in Newport, I pay Newport water, I am also one of the 100 people who had (test) water meters put in. Water meters were rejected in this town because of the paranoia around smart meters.”As it is now single-family homeowners pay a fixed rate for water and sewer, and that is what upsets Ladds. She told the council that she does not like to subsidize water users who feel they can use as much as they want and not need to pay for it.Please see the Newport Daily Express Monday for the complete story.