Andrews board votes to increase utility rates

The Andrews Town Council voted to increase utility rates by approximately 15 percent during its Monday, Dec. 10 meeting.

The decision comes at the recommendation of Thurber, Brock & Associates, Inc., the municipal financial consulting firm that council hired to conduct a water rate study of the town.

To Clerk/Treasurer Bill Johnson, increasing the utility rates is a necessary measure that enables the town to adequately maintain and upgrade its utilities infrastructure.

"We can't sit here and let our utilities fall into disarray simply because we're afraid of a rate increase," said Johnson to citizens attending the meeting.

Ordinance 2012-12 and Ordinance 2012-13 proposed the suggested rate increase for water and wastewater, respectively, and both ordinances passed unanimously.

Council will now receive proof from the Andrews Volunteer Fire Department that its volunteers are being paid, reimbursed for gas mileage and receiving a clothing allowance from the trustee.

This resolves an issue for the town as it was not able to provide proof to the state, as is required by law, that the volunteers were receiving their just and adequate compensation.

Toby Stephan, of civil engineering firm Butler, Fairman & Seufert, informed council that a plan will be compiled showing the state that Andrews is in the process of planning on how to bring its signs and sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The state informed Andrews a few months ago that it needed to bring those things into compliance with the act and required that the town have a plan, or begin working on a plan, to satisfy that mandate by the end of the year.