Hamilton raises water connection fees

An analog water meter in Hamilton is shown above.

HAMILTON — The City of Hamilton has approved increased water connection fees as well as deposits and fees to set a meter following a Hamilton City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 18, at Hamilton City Hall.
Councilman Wade Williams was the lone opposition to the vote, as he believed the current fees were sufficient for the city.
Previously, Hamilton’s water deposit fee was $125 ($25 service fee and $100 as a deposit amount). Meter setting cost was $500.
Before the vote, during a work session meeting Wednesday, Aug. 30, Hamilton Water and Sewer Department General Manager Rodney Williams stated Hamilton averages setting 25 new meters a year.
“The meters we have been purchasing, we can’t get anymore because they are manual readers. Everything is going digital,” said Rodney Williams.
“Of course, the price went up. We were only paying about $90 for those meters, now they’ll be right around $150.”
During the work session, Wade Williams stated he believes the city is making plenty of money from the current meter setting fees, even after taking into account the increased cost of digital meters.
“That sounds plenty to me. I ain’t going up on meters, and I ain’t going up on deposits,” said Wade Williams.
Councilman Scott Tyra stated the city must increase water deposit fees.
“We gotta go up. We are writing off too much debt every year,” said Tyra.
Rodney Williams stated there have been issues with residents leaving their homes without notifying the water department, leaving the department with an unpaid bill that is one or two months behind.
Page asked the council during the work session what a good increase would be for fees.
“I think we should look at our bad debt and see what we’ve been stuck with and be sure that we’re covered,” said Tyra. “I’m not here to make money, but we at least have to try and break even.”
Page stated the increase in fees would help the city.
“I think a good connection fee would help us out. I’d like to see us go to $200,” said Page.
“If the customer checks out and moves, they get that back. But, if they leave a bad debt, that helps cover it.”
Before the vote last Monday, Wade Williams again voiced his opposition to the meter price hike.
“I’ll be a negative, but it’s not anything personal. I think $125 is fair, and I think $500 is fair,” said Wade Williams.
“Sometimes we just agree to disagree, and as soon as the meeting is over, this is behind us.”

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