At a special called Clarkson Commission meeting on Monday, Feb. 19, the commissioners unanimously voted to adopt the sewer rate increase, after its first reading on Feb. 12.

The commissioners approved a 15 percent increase for the city’s sewer bills, in order to show that the loan taken out from USDA Rural Development, for the Sewer Rehab Project can be re-paid.

For the first 1,500 gallons, the rate will increase from $15.13 to $17.40, and for every 1,000 gallons after the initial 1,500, the rate will increase from $8.82 to $10.14.

According to Mayor Bonnie Henderson, this was the lowest rate increase that could be provided to the customers.

Henderson said the USDA Rural Development required the city to increase rates to prove that Clarkson would be able to pay back the loan as scheduled before any money would change hands.

Henderson said all of the money raised from this rate increase will be used to pay back the loan for the Sewer Rehab Project. The interest rate for this loan is 2 percent, which, according to Henderson, was cheaper than they could get anywhere else.

The loan is in addition to a $300,000 Block Grant the City received for the project.

According to Henderson, the current sewer system is 30 years old and in need of an overhaul. Last year, Clarkson spent over $12,000 on pump repairs due to clogs.

The commissioners want to assure citizens that this rate increase will not affect the garbage rates, which will remain the same.

Henderson said, “I want people to see this as a good thing, instead of just seeing their sewer rates increase.�

The sewer system will see much needed improvements with this project, she said.

Customers can expect to start seeing changes to their bill beginning March 1.