Jonas Anderson, Cave City Mayor
By now we’ve all received our water bills, and see the effect that the recent rate increase will have on them. It is of course the largest we’ve had in many years. I made sure to discuss this a few times in 2021 and 2022,because we knew it was coming, eventually. I wanted to be very proactive in letting you know our thinking, and our intentions, about what that might look like. And this is a post I’ve (mostly) planned to make all along. Act 605 of 2021 was the state law that set it in motion. It now re-quires, among several other things, that water providers conduct a rate study every five years to analyze current water rates, sewer rates, expenses, income, etc. Based on that data, the rate study then calculates what our rates should be. Whether we agree or not, those rates must then be implemented within a year. If you noticed, the water bill notes the “State Mandated” in-crease. Someone has said that I am being dishonest by saying that it is mandated “right now”. I take integrity very seriously, so let me be very clear about this. The new law says that we must abide by all of its requirements no later than July, 2026. It is not man-dated “right now”. That is why the water bill doesn’t say it is. And I wouldn’t have suggested other-wise. It is very clear right there in the new law that cities have an ultimate deadline of 2025/2026.But, the law also says that once the required rate study is complete, and if it shows that a rate increase is needed, that increase “shall be implemented within one (1) year of the receipt of the rate.” Unfortunately, we had not had a rate study conducted in several years. We needed one. I wanted to know where we stand in the eyes the new law right now, and therefore decided to go ahead with a rate study in2022. Additionally, we all know that prices and expenses are continuing to rise (our prices for water/sewer materials certainly have), and the longer we waited, the more I feared a rate study would show that we need an even larger increase than this, due to those rising costs now, and in the years to come. So, once we conducted a study and got the results, we were then required to implement them within a year. And that is what we have done. Thank-fully, the study didn’t require a rate increase for our sewer rate, but only for our water rate. And, the increase only applies to the “over minimum” usage. Those who are using below that likely will see little to no change in your billing when it’s under that usage. Side note: we have also proactively implemented the other requirements, such as setting aside a minimum amount of revenue each year specifically for system repairs. We’ve already been doing this, but now we are aligned with the new law well before the deadline says we have to be. This is not something that I or the City Council members would ever take lightly, of course. Just like you who we represent, some of us are younger and are raising kids in an increasingly crazy world, while others are older and have fixed incomes and are trying to navigate it with that in mind. No matter what, it makes an impact on us all. Across multiple mayoral administrations, we have implemented only minimal and necessary rate adjustments for many years, out of a genuine concern for our res-idents. I hope this explains my thinking, and our decision, on this recent, important matter. We are watching the state legislature very closely for any future amendments to this law that we might take ad-vantage of, on your behalf. There are few minutes in my life these days that Cave City, our team of employees, and our residents, are not at the front of my mind in some way. And that’s fine. That is what I first asked you and our City Council to trust me with in 2017.I will continue to make decisions with the best intent, and with forthright integrity as my number one priorities. And if you ever have any questions about that, I genuinely welcome you to ask me about it. Thanks so much for your continued trust, and for taking your time to read this. We are continuing to make big investments into our water and sewer system to fix costly, decades-old problems, and prevent many more in the future.