The Board of Public Works and Safety met Wednesday for a meeting and discussed the first draft of a proposal.
The proposal has to do with the 50-percent water adjustment that has been given to area cleaners since, at least, the Norval Pickett Mayoral administration.
"I drafted (a proposal), and they are pretty similar in nature," City Attorney Traci Lawson said. "They go through and they talk about these companies (Adamson's Fabric Care Services and Reberger Cleaners) that are receiving a 50-percent monthly reduction on their wastewater bills, and the board has determined that that is not justified or reasonable given the circumstances. It sets out a schedule to phase that reduction down (month by month) to where it's 10-percent.
"I did it down to 10 percent, not for any reason that was just the direction I thought that the board was going toward, if the board would prefer to phase it out completely we can restructure it to do that."
Lawson said the 10-percent reduction would be in effect for the rest of 2012 and the companies would have to come before the board in December each year to request to renew the reduction for 2013 and each year thereafter.
Brazil Mayor Brian Wyndham gave those in attendance a background on the situation.
"Basically what's happening ... for whatever reason the cleaners in town have been getting a 50-percent reduction in their water bill," Wyndham said. "There were some factors they had presented that they felt like warranted that. The current Board of Works, including myself felt like this reduction was pretty extravagant, so our proposal is to change it, instead of just cutting it out to phase it out, so the blow is not so big.
"It amounted to quite a bit of money ... one cleaner in particular (it was) $13,000 a year. We can't afford that, so this proposal is that in May they have the 50-percent reduction, in June 40 percent, in July 30 percent, in August 20 percent and in September it would be 10 percent, and then we level it off there."
Wyndham continued and reiterated the fact there was never any paperwork for the original adjustment.
"That was an agreement done many years ago, and apparently it was kind of a handshake agreement because we never found any paperwork on it," he said. "But we feel in all fairness there is just not the justification for (the businesses) to be receiving such a huge decrease in their bill."
After an audience question about what the removal of the reduction will do to the businesses, Wyndham said they might very well have to raise rates to compensate.
Wyndham added the board wasn't trying to make it difficult for the cleaners or run them out of business, but when the wastewater leaves the cleaners it's no different than other wastewater when it reaches the purification system where there is a cost involved for the city.
"It would be nice to do these types of reductions," Wyndham said, "but it's basically become unaffordable for the city, especially with the financial environment we're in at this point."
Wyndham said he thought it was a fair system and proposal, to which board members Ruthann Jeffries and Linda Messmer agreed.
Lawson explained she wanted the board to feel comfortable with the 10-percent reduction and to feel it was justified.
The board decided it would wait to make a move on the proposal until the owners of the cleaners can be represented, which may occur at the next scheduled meeting.