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FCWA rates to increase July 1

Fulton County Water Authority users will see a $2 base-rate increase to their first 1,000 gallons of water used beginning July 1, 2019. This increase will raise the base rate from $23.50 to $25.50 for residential meters and from $25.50 to $27.50 on 1-inch commercial and 1-inch farm meters. The base rate for 2-inch commercial and 2-inch farm meters will increase from $36 to $38 for the first 1,000 gallons. These increases will be reflected on the August statements. 

Fulton County Water Authority undergoes a thorough financial study by the Rural Community Assistance Program. Communities Unlimited Inc. adviser Jerry Kopke conducts the study about every four years. He has studied FCWA since its inception and recommends adjustments be made yearly to keep up with increased operating costs. This increase was approved during the water board’s budget meeting in October and is necessary to meet the maintenance needs and growth of the system. Previous minimal increases were adequate in past years to support a one-employee operation. Continued growth and recent management decisions proved the need for a second employee. 

In addition to the rate increase, the state of Arkansas increased the sample fee per meter by 10 cents. The fee will go from 30 cents to 40 cents beginning on the August statements. This fee is passed on to members and paid to the health department.  

A copy of the rate study is available for review at FCWA located in the building of North Arkansas Electric Cooperative at 225 Main Street in Salem. Questions about the rate increase may be directed to 870-895-6226 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

FCWA 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.  

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 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 million. The more users who sign up, 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.   

“I encourage all those in the proposed areas to sign up,” said Darrell Zimmer, FCWA manager. “I would be happy to answer any questions by phone or in person, and I also can schedule appointments to meet with anyone interested in connecting after hours as well.”

Landowners in these areas and potential water users may visit NAEC’s Salem office or call FCWA at 870-895-3221 for more information. 

Payment Methods

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.