Water rates soar for Magee rentals

By PAT BROWN,

The owners of apartment complexes and rental property need to get ready.  Doing business in Magee is about to get more costly. 

The reason is water bills.   Some apartment complexes are paying as little as $1.35 per month while other folks in the community are paying a minimum of $31.85 per month.  Raleigh Annex Apartment IV has 72 units and is paying $97.25 for 72 units.  That one set of their five units would go from less than $100 per month to $2,293 per month. 

Magee Mayor Dale Berry said he did not know why there was such a disparity in rates and that he did not know why those arrangements were made before he came into office.  He did state that the rental property he owns pays the same rate of $31.85 per property. 

The issue surfaced when Berry was attending a mayor’s conference and the city of Pearl had the same issue.  The list provided by the mayor lists 648 apartments or trailers for rent in Magee.  At the minimum residential charge, that should yield over  $20,000 per month rather than the current $4,000 per month.  That in itself will yield almost an additional $200,000 a year in water revenues. 

The board took the matter under advisement and plans to address the issue at an upcoming meeting of the board. 

The board also has plans to reduce expenses from $5,000 per month on phone lines that monitor the city’s water wells to a different vendor.  While the initial cost is $49,000 for the change over, the city will no longer be tied to land lines and the move should pay off in less than one year. 

The board gave the nod to observing Halloween in the city on October 31. 

The mayor reported that the city is currently cutting grass at 21 locations every eight days.  Additionally, he announced that the city would have a work session to discuss a proposed employee handbook on October 29 at 5 p.m. 

The board instructed the mayor to explore options for placing holiday lights for Christmas. 

The board is proceeding with renovations at the former YMCA as a senior citizen’s center.  The board agreed to place vinyl planks floors as opposed to going with concrete stained floors because the vinyl preparation could be done more quickly and would not require asbestos abatement. 

The board approved Phillip Magee and Shane Steel to fly to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to inspect and approve the new firetruck the city is purchasing.  Estimated cost is $1,296 for the flight. The company is picking up the cost of lodging and incidentals.  The city is expected to take possession of the new truck in the near future.  

The board accepted the resignation of Police Officer Joey Shows.  The board approved the parttime employment of Vernon Dampeer as a certified officer.  Dampeer is currently employed full time with the Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Department and parttime with the Mt. Olive Police Department.  The board approved Matt Sullivan attending a training instructor workshop on the Gulf Coast, which will meet his training requirement for this year. 

No additional business came before the board, and they adjourned.