I wanted to take a moment to remind the residents of the city of Columbiana that there will be a public hearing at 7:15 p.m. today. The meeting will be held at City Hall. The hearing is to allow residents to air their feelings toward a potential new fee structure on water bills that would be used to pay for a new water plant.
Like most people, I do not want another fee added to my monthly expenses. That said, I also enjoy having clean, safe drinking water. Our current water plant is nearly a century old and we are at the point where a new plant is required. We have received millions of dollars in grants and even more in low-interest loans. There still is a very large expense to cover.
There were a few choices given to us by a consulting firm that specializes in the setting of water rates. I personally didn't like any of their options. Discussion took place requesting council to take action on the setting of the new rate structure. I don't believe action should be taken on the setting of this rate structure due to its long-term cost and impact, without input from residents.
The recommended rate was a new $21/month fee added to every water bill in the city. I believe this rate to be detrimental to the growth and well-being of our city and its residents.
I also believe that taking no action at all would be equally as detrimental. We are looking for a middle of the road solution. Council would like to hear your ideas on different implementations, rates, structures and needs as well as how this rate increase could affect you. Please attend the meeting to make your voice heard.