June 18, 2022 — The Mapleton Water District (MWD) met for its monthly meeting on June 14 at the Mapleton Lions Club. Directors Millie Rochon, Vanessa West, Roger Gould and Bryan Moore were in attendance. Director Sharon Shrenk was not.
The most significant order of business was when the board voted, unanimously, to increase water rates. $5 will be added to the meter fee that appears on each bill. Previously, the meter fee was $12, so the increase will bring the total fee to $17.
Also, there will be a $0.02 increase per cubic foot of water, bringing the total charge to $0.10 per cubic foot. This is an approximately 25% increase.
This increase will go into effect in the next billing cycle.
In 2021, the MWD received a combination loan and grant to purchase a new water processing and treatment plant. The plant was supposed to be installed by July. It appears there will be a delay.
“Because of delays in parts, because of all this stuff we have no control over, it’s putting us in dire straits,” said Moore. “Now they’re talking December.”
This was brought up because the board believes it is important for the district’s customers to understand that an ever increasing revenue stream is imperative to keep water flowing. Until a permanent processing plant is installed, there will be added costs that come with the temporary plant that is in use currently.
“We still have to pay for things that we wouldn't normally have to pay for,” said Moore. “I want the public to know that this is not a fun game and that's why the pay rate has to happen.”
At the last MWD meeting in May, the budget committee met and approved next year’s (2022-23) budget. A minor adjustment to that budget was made during the June meeting. The board voted, unanimously, to add $19,050 to the next budget for personnel.
Currently, the board employees one technician to maintain the water plant and, according to the board, he needs back-up. The $19,050 would be used to hire a part-time plant operator.
“The board agrees that they [the budget committee] did really good,” said West. “The only thing was they did not give us enough funds to be able to pay somebody else. We've got Joe [Rochon, the district’s plant operator] getting paid for 40 hours a week, whether he works 40 hours or 200 hours. He's salaried, so he only gets paid 40 hours a week, no, ifs, ands or buts. He's expected to make sure that thing is maintained 24/7 every single day of the year.”
All board members stressed community participation is needed for the success of the water district.
The public will have a chance to participate in the next MWD meeting, which will be July 12 at 7 p.m. at the Mapleton Lions Club, 88158 Riverview Ave.
The Mapleton Sewer District also needs community support. The sewer district also meets monthly, with the next meeting also on July 12. The Sewer District meeting is at 6 p.m. at Frank’s Place, 10788 Highway 126.
Community members who need assistance with utility bills should be aware of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The program helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist with energy costs. LIHEAP provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills, energy crisis or weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs.
Those interested in help from LIHEAP should contact Kirstin Zartman, Crisis Assistance Advocate at Siuslaw Outreach Services (SOS), 541-997-2816, Ext. 204. Her crisis line is 541-997-4444.
SOS is located at 1576 West 12th St. in Florence.
For more information on the Mapleton Water District, call 541-268-4348.