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Move to raise water rates finds no favor, but special meeting set

A proposed ordinance to raise water rates died for lack of a motion at last week’s rescheduled Clinton City Council meeting.

The bill would raise water rates to water associations by 2 percent a year for the next five years. Jim Kirkendoll of the Van Buren County Water Association objected to the move, saying it would have an impact on the association’s 1,300 plus water users, and hinting that the association might file a lawsuit if the measure were enacted.

Bee Branch Water Association President Nick Palangio asked to speak, but Mayor Roger Rorie refused to recognize him, saying he was not on the agenda. Kirkendoll asked if he could cede his time to Palangio, but Rorie would not allow that.

Rorie said that if water rates were not increased it could jeopardize a $1.4 million loan offered to Clinton Water by Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and funding for the clarifying system would take a step back. The state Health Department ordered that Clinton Water have its product flowing cleanly by February 2014 or face fines of as much as $7,000 a day. The department has not imposed any fines so far.

No councilor would make a motion to vote on the proposal, but a special meeting was set for Tuesday night, which is after the Democrat’s press time.

Also to be considered again at last night’s meeting was action on moving City Hall and other city offices to a combined location. Rorie said the city should consider buying the former Standridge Insurance building, part of a strip mall on Highway 65. Rorie said it didn’t really matter to him, but the city was going to have to do something. He said two of the buildings that currently house city offices have leakage problems and need new roofs.

Also at the meeting, it was mentioned that the city had added a part-time worker to its payroll to run the concession stand at the ball fields. The pay is $15 per hour, and it was noted that the city did not advertise the job before hiring Althea Olejniczak for the position.

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