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Crawford water, sewer rates see 50¢ increase

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At the May 4 council meeting, Crawford trustees unanimously approved resolutions amending the base rates for water and wastewater services. The 50-cent increases will go into effect June 1.

The increases were proposed by former mayor Susie Steckel at the end of her four-year term. On April 6, Steckel suggested trustees consider a small annual increase in the fee once the newly elected council was in place. The additional money could help pay for emergencies and future capital improvements. She suggested a small increase, rather than wait and enact a large increase at a later date. Trustees expressed support for the increase.

No one spoke in opposition to the increase during the requisite public hearing portion of the meeting.

After examining wastewater rates, "I think what the town is looking at for charging bars and restaurants and the car wash is low, considering the amount of water they use and what they do to the sewer system, per se, versus what you charge churches and lodges," said newly elected trustee John Paton.

After the increase, base monthly in-town and out-of-town rates for car wash businesses are $26.60 and $41.65, respectively, and restaurants are $29.10 and $38.65.

The rates were the result of studies and a lot of discussion, said public works director Bruce Bair. He added that, as far as the volume of water used, the tap at Sudz Buggy Wash serves the car wash, laundromat and office space and uses about 20,000 gallons per month, which isn't much more than a typical residential tap. It also utilizes a sand trap similar to a septic system. Their impact on the wastewater system is minimal, said Bair.

Paton said he assumed there would be more usage from commercial ventures. The one church in town and the lodges are also assessed $29.10 and $38.65 monthly, as are service stations and individual businesses and offices and businesses operating in a residence.

When Paton recalled some issues about grease problems a couple of years ago, Bair said the town required restaurants to install small grease traps. They are grandfathered in, but if a new restaurant is proposed, the town would require a large trap. To ask existing businesses to install a large trap would present a financial burden.

As long as they are maintained, existing businesses can get by with a smaller trap, said Bair. Grease is still an issue, "but not as bad as it was."

Mayor Wanda Gofforth agreed that the issue needs to be revisited and that it should be placed on a future agenda.

Crawford Area Chamber of Commerce president Connie Layton came before the board to remind trustees of a joint art project with all three area chambers of commerce and local schools. Crawford Montessori students are working on a Crawford-themed cutout sign. The idea, said Layton, is to encourage people to stop and take photos of their faces in the cutouts, then spend some time in town. The sign is almost complete and needs a home for the summer, said Layton. It will probably go into storage during winter months.

Layton sought guidance from the town on the best, most visible and practical spot for the sign, and suggested that Pioneer Days, scheduled for the second week in June, would be a good time to unveil the sign. After discussion it was decided that Memorial Day would be a better time to unveil the sign. That way, when Pioneer Days rolls around the sign will already be in the public eye.

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