Rock Port Board Considering Steep Water Rate Increase

Rock Port Board Considering Steep Water Rate Increase

Decaying water system leads community to buy water from wholesaler. Due to error in their contract, aldermen considering 125 percent rate hike.
(ROCK PORT, Mo.) It was a case of sticker shock in Rock Port.

A full house showed up Wednesday evening at the Rock Port Board of Aldermen meeting to hear of a plan to raise water rates 125 percent.

Starting Oct. 1, Rock Port will begin purchasing water from the Wholesale Water Commission. They are joining Tarkio, Fairfax and other rural areas of northwest Missouri with the purchase.

However, under the contract city officials signed, Rock Port is committed to buying 53 million gallons of water per year. That's about 10 million gallons more than they currently use or need.

Rock Port Mayor Jeffrey Seaman says the person who signed the contract for the city no longer works for them.

"Seeing the numbers, it was about where it should be based on what we were using," Seaman said. "So we signed a contract with the losses on 53 million gallons. Lo and behold that information was actually a lot more than what the actual information was."

Those who attended the meeting were stunned by what they learned.

"First I heard it was an increase of 10-20 percent, no big deal," said Rock Port resident Denton Melvin, who attended the meeting. "It's 125.7%. Seems a bit steep. We're looking at major increases in billing."

Rock Port had previously used a local water plant. However, it had become antiquated and was in need of major repairs.
Instead of fixing the current system, they decided to turn to the water wholesaler.

Mayor Seaman said another part of the problem is water rates charged to customers have not kept up with actual costs over the past few years.

Alderman tabled the rate increase to look more at their utility budgets to see where they can make cuts.

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