Grayville City Council met again on Monday, offering public viewing via Facebook Live. Less than five minutes after calling the meeting to order, the Council broke out for an Executive Session to discuss the setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by the public body at the I-64 Plaza.

Two weeks ago, the council narrowly approved Mayor Travis Thompson’s ability to negotiate with two interested parties; Commissioners David Jordan and Tyler Howell voted against allowing Thompson to negotiate pricing. After a lengthy Executive Session, the Council decided to table the topic.

The Council again discussed the water tower project, which was a hot topic at the last meeting held April 27. Previously, Jordan had stated that if utility rates weren’t going to be raised, “…the water tower project needs to be cancelled.” 

Commissioner Howell presented an update scope of the project, noting that Maguire Iron is willing to do an interior cleaning for $5,000 this year, and that would enable the price lock-in.

After much discussion and several long pauses, Jordan noted, “if we’re going to do the work, we’re going to have to pay for it.” The motion passed.

Utility rates for Grayville residents increased by 2 percent automatically on May 1. This topic tied into the water tower project, as was discussed at the last meeting. Water/Sewer Commissioner Howell had previously suggested delaying or postponing the rate hike, possibly until next year. 

On Monday, Howell submitted a utility rate increase proposal for approval, on par with what was presented in the recently approved budget. Howell’s proposed rates will go in effect June 1. For water, this included doing away with the declining rate scale and increasing the minimum rate to to $13.59 with a $5.40 flat rate per thousand gallons of water used after the first 1,000. For sewer, this included a $13.91 minimum rate with a $5.30 flat rate per thousand after.

Again, Commissioner Jordan was concerned that the increase rate would not be enough to cover the water tower project costs. However, the rate increase proposal was approved-Jordan voted no, while the rest of the Council voted yes.

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