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Linden Utilities increases temporary service rates

The Linden Utility Board approved an increase in temporary water service rates to $60 with a 1,000 gallon and 30-day limit. Previously, Linden residents paid $30, and those outside city limits paid $40.

Board members also accepted a corrected loan transcript from the First Bank of Linden for the $792,000 loan that partially funded the city’s $1.8 million lagoon project, which included adding a new lift station and a new pump station, replacing discharge valves and building a chlorine contact chamber. The new transcript included the correct interested rate of 1.75 percent, which Utility Clerk Ashley Drake said is lower than the original rate.

The board also approved payment to grant writer Stan Nelson for a recently awarded $30,000 Sanitary Sewer Search Grant through the USDA. Nelson’s payment was also through the USDA.

Water loss for the month was reported at 22.2 percent due to a leak along CR 1.

It was also reported that one of the city’s lift stations received a new vacuum pump for $800.

Board member Ola Ford brought up her concerns with several sewage pipes backing up on Gardner, Lucas and Ford streets. Public Works Director Terry Tyson issues like that will be assessed with the Sanitary Sewer Search Grant, but they will have to wait until future projects to address them.

Tyson also introduced Cory Martin, a contract worker with the department, to the utility board in order to showcase his work updating the operation’s manual and digitizing all relevant information.

“Everything that we used to do by hand, we’ve got it on the computer,” Tyson said. “Where it used to take hours, it takes less than an hour.”

Martin also showed utility board members his partially completed map of the water system in Linden. Tyson told the board that the map is especially useful if, for example, a meter box has been covered up after years of no use and public works officials have trouble locating without the GPS coordinates that Martin compiled.

Prior to the meeting, the utility board also conducted a joint meeting with the Linden City council while the audit reports were presented.

Net position was reported as $5,724,000, of which $3.6 million is capital assets. Unrestricted funds are equal to  $1.2 million, which covers slightly over a year of operating costs. There is $260,000 available for capital projects.

The Utility Board had $626,000 in revenue in the last year, $582,000 of which was grant income and $44,000 was from regular operations.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, February 5 issue of the Demopolis Times.)