By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
St. Mary residents will now pay $26.86 for their first 1,000 gallons of wastewater used, and $12.72 for each additional 1,000 gallons.
The board of aldermen unanimously passed an increase in the wastewater rate at last Thursday night’s meeting.
The move was not without any criticism, though.
One-time Alderman Frank Gerardot again spoke up against it during a public hearing prior to the meeting.
“Of course I don’t think the rate should be raised,” Gerardot said. “I don’t think anybody that lives here and pays monthly bills, wants it raised.”
He said he would like to see the city “being fiscally responsible.”
“The water system, the sewer system is supposed to pay for itself,” he said. “The city is spending the surplus, so there is no surplus and they have to raise the rates. It’s the only way they ever do it. They always raise their rates. They never make any cuts in their budget. To be fiscally responsible, you need to really look at what we’re spending money on, what we can do without, what the people wanted, what they ended up getting, and evaluate it. Say, ‘We need to make some changes,’ instead of just sticking it to the people and raising rates, whether it’s water or sewer, we need to step back and take a look at this.”
He said that putting a budget together is the most important thing the board of aldermen does.
“If you’ve got a good budget and you’re not spending more than you have, which is the case a lot, here,” he said, “then you’re being fiscally responsible. “
Gerardot suggested taking a closer look at expenses “raising the rates on the people all the time.”
Mayor Carlton Wyatt asked if any of the aldermen had any response to his remarks. None did.
The resolution passed 3-0, with Alderman Dr. Zen Duda absent. At the Nov. 10 meeting, the same resolution received two votes for, while Duda voted against it. Ron Barnett was absent that month.