Alamo Sewer and Water met Aug. 7.

Farr West Engineering is waiting to hear back from the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water for the Preliminary Engineering Report.

The board approved using Bret Whipple’s firm as auditor again. His price was negotiated down to $8,250 from the $11,000 charged for the previous year. The district reviewed bids from both Whipple and a competitor and decided to go with Whipple due to the firm’s 25 years of service.

Whipple assured the board things will be better and provided his personal cell phone number to enable the board to immediately address pressing issues.

The board also approved moving forward with a rate hearing. The suggested plan is a 10 percent increase the first year and a six percent increase each year for four more years, which will give the district a built-up reserve projected to be between $60,000 to $80,000.

The district has not had a rate increase for the past seven years, and this plan will help not only balance both the water and sewer budgets after three years, but will also make it possible for the district to qualify for rates and loans that are much needed to improve service.

The rate hearing will be advertised in the paper on Aug. 17, 24, 31, and Sept. 7. The rate hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. so the public can voice their input. The board will then vote on the matter at the general meeting held on 7 p.m. the same day.

The board approved the verbiage on the new septic discharge policy in order to help customers with emergency septic tank troubles. This policy will be determined at Alamo Sewer and Water’s discretion and only during certain hours. The charge will be $200 per load.

The board will continue to look at health insurance options for full-time employees, including Health Savings Account benefits. In the employee report, they announced the USDA has a surplus of funding for rural water and wastewater to go towards replacement projects and upgrades to infrastructure. The board plans to call and find more information about eligible projects and check on possible water tank upgrades.

The recent leak in front of Doug Looney’s house in Yoppesville has been fixed. A coupling was replaced.

All customers affected by a leak or repair, who have water shut off, are notified by door hangers, then notified once again when the water is safe after testing two different samples. Customers can feel free to contact the district for more information.

The board officially welcomed Paden Higbee to the district as a new employee. Brent Thatcher will be providing help through the Lincoln County Workforce.