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DUD officials speak out on new water plant
DUD w sm
While the City of Smithville has hired a public relations firm to launch a campaign against a proposed DeKalb Utility District water treatment plant off Holmes Creek Road, DUD officials say that they plan to break ground on the facility by mid-summer, and expect to have the plant up and running within 18 months.City officials say they are opposed to the project not only because the city will lose more than $500,000 in sales every year, but that rates would increase for both Smithville and DUD customers. Smithville utility engineer J.R. Wauford told the city council recently that customers of both DUD and the city will see increases of as much as 50 percent if the DUD plant is built.DUD officials say that the average price increase for their customers will only amount to $10.50 per month, and that will be spread out over a three-year period.Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson has called the plan “disastrous,” and city officials have questioned whether DUD can treat its own water more cheaply than it can buy it from the city.The city has hired the Calvert Street Group, a Nashville PR firm, to inform both city and county residents of their position.The DUD now pays the City of Smithville $2 per 1,000 gallons for water.According to the terms of the contract between DUD and the city, the cost increases by five cents per 1,000 gallons a year under the agreement, which expires in 2014.The envisioned completion date indicates that the DUD facility should be operational by the time the current contract with the City of Smithville expires.While DUD officials admit that rates will be increased to help finance the new facility, they say the increase will not be as sharp as city officials estimate.A prepared statement released last week by DUD officials said “ We believe having our own water treatment plant will benefit all of DeKalb County because it will provide an additional source of water for our community to plan and handle future growth.”The statement went on to say, “There is a lot of misinformation being circulated in the community about the impact the new water treatment plant construction will have on our customers' rates. Here are the facts:“The increases will be spaced out over the next three years.“Our minimum rate for customers, who use 2,000 gallons or less, will rise from as low as $17.50 presently to $19 in July 2012, then to $20.13 in July 2013 and to $21.75 in July 2014.