The Jonesboro Board of Aldermen agreed to introduce an Ordinance that was needed in order to secure a $750,000.00 grant that has been earmarked for the town by the Department of Environmental Quality. (DEQ)
The move was done at a special called meeting on Monday where Devin Flowers, Pete Stringer, James Ginn, Robbie Siadek and Nia Evans-Johnson all gave their approval after listening to City Engineer Brad Graff explain why it was necessary to get the process of receiving the money right away.
As Graff explained to the council, the language of the grant requires that the money be used by October. The plan in place is for the reconstruction of the 12″ main sewer line off the lift station located at the end of 5th street in Jonesboro. A line extension to South Polk Avenue is also on the schedule.
The process of receiving the grant money started last fall, when Graff made several applications for funding from various departments and government entities. The DEQ responded with approval for $750,000.00 providing that the town could show a revenue and expense projection regarding the sewage program.
This was submitted but the plan fell short of one of the requirements set forth. This was that the town had to be able to show solvency in the sewage program over a ten-year period. Original projections submitted indicated that the town would be incurring more expenses than revenues beginning in 2025.
In the original plan there were no increases in sewer rates for in town and out of town residents and businesses other than a standard 3% cost of living increase. In order to alleviate the shortfall of revenue, Graff devised a plan to increase rates by 4% yearly from the year 2025 to 2030 which would suffice the requirement of showing positive revenue over expenses. He then submitted this to the DEQ for their review and got a favorable reply.
The Ordinance (2022-001), which had the terms of the planned yearly rate increases published in the March 27th edition of the Jackson Parish Journal, now will be on the May 10th meeting agenda for ratification. Prior to the session a Public Hearing will take place to allow comments to be made.
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