Fulton County Water Authority
Fulton County Water Authority rates to increase July 1
Fulton County Water Authority users will see a $1 base-rate increase to the first 1,000 gallons of water used beginning July 1. This increase will raise the base rate from $22.50 to $23.50 for residential meters and from $24.50 to $25.50 for those with 1-inch commercial and farm meters. The base rate for those with 2-inch commercial and farm meters will increase from $35 to $36 for the first 1,000 gallons. Increases will be reflected on August statements.
Jerry Kopke, Arkansas state coordinator with the Rural Community Assistance Program Community Resource Group, conducted a rate study of FCWA in 2016. He recommended the FCWA board increase rates two to three percent each year, so FCWA can fund future anticipated expenses, provide an operating ratio of 1.05 and exceed the debt coverage ratio of 1.1, which is required by funding agent U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
Recent financial audits show FCWA remains in a financially sound position, so FCWA management and board decided against the consultant’s recommendations of yearly increases. Instead, they will try to limit increases to every other year. Rates did not increase in 2017.
FCWA operates under a management contract with North Arkansas Electric Cooperative. A copy of the rate study is available at NAEC’s Salem office at 225 South Main Street. Questions about the rate increase may be directed to 870-895-6226 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Fulton County Water Authority accepting sign-ups for next phase
Fulton County Water Authority is accepting sign-ups for a rural water expansion to pre-determined unserved areas. These areas include Elizabeth Road north to Gepp, east toward Viola on Highway 62/412 and Highway 9 North from Camp east to the Myatt creek. Additional lines included in the sign-up area will run along county roads in the areas of Flora Cemetery and Cripple Creek Roads west of Viola and Camp Creek, Ridge, Forrest Mist and Katydid roads off of Highway 9 in Camp. Residents in these areas most likely were contacted by FCWA in 2016 during an income survey.
Potential water users may sign up at North Arkansas Electric Cooperative’s Salem office at 225 South Main Street between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Potential users will need to pay the $150 pre-construction sign-up fee consisting of a $50 membership to the water authority and a $100 connection fee. Fees to connect to the system after initial construction will be at least $732.38 and are often more depending on which side of the road the water line is located. Those who sign up will need to bring a deed or legal description of the property, so FCWA can obtain the necessary right-of way easement. Additional user fees associated to the water extension come at a future date and shall be a $35 inspection fee due upon inspection of the user’s water line installation from the meter to the house or point of use. Installation guidelines are available at the NAEC office.
Possible public meetings offering another sign-up opportunity for this expansion may be held at a future date. A construction timeframe has not been established yet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service approved partial funding for the project, referred to as Phase V, in the form of low-interest loans and $1.3 million in grants. However, additional funding will be necessary to complete the expected $3,253,500 project. User contributions are necessary before FCWA can apply to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for the remaining $1.5 million. The more users signed up by the mid-summer deadline, the better chances FCWA has to receive the additional funding. This will be the third time FCWA has applied to AEDC for funding on this project; the application was declined the past two years.
Landowners in these areas and potential water users may visit NAEC’s Salem office or call FCWA at 870-895-3221 for more information.
“Now is the time to sign up if you want the benefits and peace of mind of a safe and uninterrupted water supply,” said Sherry Jackson, NAEC member services coordinator. “The water increases your property value and pre-construction cost could save you thousands of dollars over connecting in the future if the main line is across the road from your property.”
Current water customers may pay their bill with a credit card by visiting the SoftTelPay website or calling toll-free 855-4TelPay (855-483-5729). When asked to enter an identification code, use 7257611. Customers will need their credit card number and FCWA monthly statement to enter other needed information. SoftTelPay will charge a nominal convenience fee for using the service.
Customers also may pay their bill by mailing a check or using check or cash at NAEC’s Salem office at 225 South Main St. No fee is charged for those payment methods. Customers also may pay by credit card at NAEC’s office, but the SoftTelPay convenience fee still will apply.
About Fulton County Water Authority
Fulton County Water Authority serves more than 1,000 connections in Fulton County, Arkansas, with approximately 200 miles of line, two wells and three tanks. It formed in 1991 as the Fulton County Water Association due in large part to the work of recently retired authority chairman Lynn Garner. The association entered into a management contract with North Arkansas Electric Cooperative in 1995 and changed to a public water authority in 2008. For more information, please call 870-895-3221.