Williston increasing revenue, lowering water rates

The town of Williston took action to increase revenue and lower residents' water bills during its regular meeting April 8.
Council unanimously passed the second reading of a pair of ordinances regarding a fee in lieu of taxes for two companies expanding their operations in the town. The companies are Dayco and Crane.
Dayco's expansion is expected to bring a $3.6 million investment and 15 full-time jobs, according to the ordinance. Dayco makes automotive parts.
Crane's expansion will bring a $2.5 million investment and 80 full-time jobs, according to the ordinance. The company makes vending machines.
The fee in lieu of taxes is a payment made to the town in place of property taxes. It acts as an incentive for businesses because the amount is less than the actual property tax would be.
At the meeting, interim administrator Roger LeDuc said yearly revenue from each company will increase by $12,000 with the new agreements. He said the town currently gets a combined $100,000 a year in revenue from the companies.
Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to adjust the sewer billing rates. Under the ordinance, each year customers' water usage for January, February and March will be averaged, and that figure will be used to determine their bill each month for the rest of the year.
This is meant to lower the bills for customers who use water that doesn't actually go back into the sewer for treatment (irrigation, gardening, swimming pools, etc.) Currently, people are charged based on the amount of water they use, whether or not it goes into the sewer system. Sewer bills comprise a base rate and then $2 for every 1,000 gallons of water used.
In an email, LeDuc said the new system should lower costs for all customers, meaning the town will lose some revenue. Those who have an irrigation meter will no longer need it, he said.
In other business:
Council approved a new policy allowing police officers living in the town limits to take their police cruisers home when off duty. This is meant to allow quicker response times for emergencies, according to a memo from LeDuc to council members.
There are currently two officers living in the town limits.
Police Chief Roger Kaney and Investigator Rodney Pruitt were previously the only police personnel allowed to take their vehicles home.
The policy will be reviewed later in the year to see if it is effective.
Council plans to have a budget session immediately following its next regular meeting May 8.
Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to update the town's purchasing ordinance.
Council approved the short- and long-term goals developed during a council retreat in early March.