City of Harrison, Ark. proposing 15% water rate increase in 2023

The Harrison, Ark. City Council was met with a proposal for a 15% water rate increase for all customers at its meeting Thursday.
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 4:40 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - The Harrison, Ark. City Council, proposed a 15% water rate increase for all customers at Thursday’s meeting.

The city’s chief financial officer, Luke Feighert, presented the information to the council, discussing the many factors contributing to the increase, including the cost of purchasing water from the Carroll-Boone Water Association, which sets its rates.

Residents in Harrison collectively pay for city utilities (water, sewer, and trash). In 2022 the average monthly rate was $52 per month for up to 1,500 gallons of water.

Harrison City Engineer Wade Phillips says the proposed increase is a culmination of several uncontrollable factors.

“Cost of chemicals and polymers we used at the water waste plant, we’re seeing 20-25% increase,” he said. “Just like everyone else, our costs are going up.”

Phillips listed nearly a dozen increased costs, such as materials and maintenance to water lines. H says the adjusted rates have nothing to do with making a profit, simply staying out of the red.

“The water we buy and sell and the people we have, those are our two most valuable resources as a water department, so we’ve gotta keep that going,” said Philips.

According to information from the water department, a 15% increase would likely mean anywhere from an $8-12 difference per month for the average residential customer.

But that number would be even more noticeably different for a business that relies heavily on water.

“About 3,000 clients, and we do about 20-25 dogs a day, for each of those, we have to use water; it’s quite a bit of water,” said Jordan Schaeffer, owner of Sassy Wags, a pet grooming business in Harrison.

We spoke with Schaeffer a year ago when Harrison’s water rates increased by 5%. She says the increases aren’t surprising given the inflation currently being seen.

“Everything is just going up as it is, our clipper blades, the sharpening,” she said. “I don’t want it to go up for sure. I own my own business. I try to save as much money as I can.”

The proposed increase is going before the City Council for a vote on December 22.

“It’s really unfortunate. Hopefully, this inflation can slow or maybe even plateau so the incomes of people in our community can start getting caught up,” Phillips told KY3.

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