Poplarville drops water surcharge

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Removing a surcharge which has been on residents’ water bills for several years was one of the first actions voted on by the Poplarville City Board at its first January meeting.

City Clerk Jody Stuart told the board the annual audit revealed the general fund had finally been paid back for a water tank refurbishment project approximately five years ago. She then asked the board what should be done with the $1.50 surcharge that had been added to each account in the city to pay for that tank project.

John Grant felt the only thing the city should do is remove the surcharge.

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“I think it is the right thing for us to do,” he said. “This surcharge was placed there for a specific purpose. Now it should be removed.”

Bill Winborn agreed and made the motion to remove the surcharge. The vote was unanimous.

“Folks say the city never reduces anything,” said Winborn. “This is one time we’re reducing something.”

At the time the water tank needed repairs, the city did not have the necessary funds in its water budget to perform the maintenance on the tank. The board opted to take the funds out of the general fund and have the water department budget pay the general fund back over time through a $1.50 surcharge to each water user in the city.

In other business, the city was awarded an $82,500 Homeland Security Grant to purchase two F-350 one-ton pickup trucks for the fire and police departments. The fire department will receive $44,500 with the police department receiving $38,000.

Fire Chief Kris Foster said he had received the official award letter and said the new trucks will be used as transport vehicles to haul emergency operations trailers and related equipment. The trucks will be equipped with lights, sirens and special operations equipment.

Foster said he is thrilled the city received the award and thanked Mayor Billy Spiers, Stuart and the board for supporting the efforts of both the fire and police departments as they try to better serve the people of Poplarville.

In other matters, the board authorized Shirley Wiltshire, John Sherman and Byron Wells to represent the city of Poplarville in Washington, D.C., next month. The aldermen will travel with an entire Pearl River County delegation to meet with lawmakers in Washington to gain support for projects needed in the county and both cities.

Wiltshire will attend a Sustainability Conference in DeSoto County this month. The conference is in Hernando, and Wiltshire said she believes this is an important conference for the city to attend to help Poplarville as it grows.

Of particular interest, the director of planning for the city of Hernando will discuss land development policies that communities can adopt to promote a more livable and sustainable community.

Other featured topics are: Ecology and conservation in development; panel discussions in using green building and alternative energy resources; and avoiding infrastructure bankruptcy, among others