Residents pay last water bills to Junction City

July 04, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

JUNCTION CITY - Rita Harmon sent out the last water bills on Thursday, and by Friday she was saying her first round of good-byes.

She also had a piece of advice for all of them - save money. The city has always billed once a month, but the new owner of the water system, the city of Danville, bills every other month.

The 1,300 customers here won't receive a bill in July. The July and August bill will be due Sept. 10.

Rita Harmon worries that some of her customers won't set aside the money to pay the double bill in September.

Cindy Nevius said she's prepared for the new billing cycle because she used to live in Danville.

"I think that'll be fine," she said of the bi-monthly billing.

Details of the turnover made public

Junction City has officially turned over the water system. Details of the negotiations were then made public:


* Junction City has about $1.5 million in debt that will be assumed by Danville. That debt is set to be paid off by 2034.

* Danville will pay Junction $40,025 for a truck; assorted parts and supplies, such as meters, pipe and sewer degreaser; all the fire hydrants, lines, meters and everything else necessary to operate the water and sewer system.

* Danville will rent space at Junction City Hall for $750 a month.

* The law says that cities with water and sewer systems keep money in reserve to pay for extensions, repairs and other expenses. Junction had $491,904 in reserve. It will pass that money on to Danville to be kept in reserve.

Danville wants to improve sewerage service

Danville is looking for an engineering firm that will improve sewerage service for Junction City customers.

Junction City faced a forced closing of the sewerage service by the state because its pump stations are overloaded and have overflowed sewage. It's choices were either to raise rates steeply, have its system shutdown or sell to Danville.

At Toombs Curve sewage frequently dumps into Balls Branch. Toilet paper and feces flow down the waterway. Because of the problems, Junction has had a moratorium on sewer taps.

"That problem won't be solved day one," said Earl Coffey, Danville city engineer.

Coffey said that the sewerage service will improve, and likely in the future customers that have septic tanks will be able to hook up to city service.

Resident Bill Gill came in Friday to pay his last bill. He said the system sale doesn't bother him.

"As long as the bills don't go up," he said.

The expensive bills in Junction City are hard on people with fixed incomes, he said.

Water portion of bill will be lower for most, but sewer bill will be little higher

The water portion of the bill will be lower for most residents, but the sewer bill will be slightly higher.

A family that uses 4,000 gallons of water a month in Junction City now pays $56.39. On Danville's rate schedule they will pay $57.44.

Coffey said he thinks there will be improved service in Junction City with faster response times when there are leaks or needed repairs because Danville has more equipment and more employees.

Pamphlets about Danville's service are available at Junction City Hall. For more information, call 238-1200.

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