ARWA offers to do rate study on Corning water system

During the October meeting of the Corning City Council there was a discussion concerning selling water by the gallon on their water bills to residents. The idea was prompted by the fact that the Corning Water Department does not receive the revenue needed to support itself. In order to support the water department, it is subsidized with 8% sales tax. Councilman Vannoy stated he ran the numbers and he believed selling water by the gallon would work and would like to see the water department pay its own way. His plan, he explained, would be to take at least 6% of that sales tax money and put it in an economic development fund. Corning currently sells water by the thousand gallons.

Dennis Sternberg, CEO of Arkansas Rural Water Association said that the problem in Corning’s water department initially lies in not regarding the department as a business and treating it as such. The second would be if they decided to sell water by the gallon. He explained, “A mayor and a council want to keep the rates as low as possible. A lot of times they don’t fund it properly and it doesn’t make the money. You have to run a rate study annually to determine the cost of operation to make small adjustments versus large adjustments; five – six – ten years down the road if you don’t raise rates. I’ve seen all too many times, newly elected mayors or councilmen say, “No, we’re not raising water rates. We can’t afford it.” You can’t afford not to. You’ve got to break even, it’s a business.” Sternberg said if Corning hasn’t raised sewer and/or water rates in several years, that’s a problem.


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Clay County Courier

810 N Missouri Ave.
P.O. Box 85
Corning, Arkansas 72422-0085
(870) 857-3531