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— The city council, on Nov. 7, passed on three readings with a single vote a proposed ordinance adjusting the water and sewer rates for Gentry water and sewer customers.

A second public hearing on the sewer rate increase was held at 6:30 p.m., with no one speaking against the rate hike. The council took up the proposed ordinance at its regular meeting which immediately followed the public hearing.

The rate change is a part of a scheduled annual increase to help the city keep up with rising costs to the city to provide the water and sewer service.

Beginning with the charges on the bill due in January, the base water rate for residential customers within the city would increase from $12.92 inside the city and $30.99 outside the city to $13.31 and $31.92, respectively. Base sewer rates would rise from $7.36 inside the city and $12.20 outside the city to $7.58 and $12.57, respectively. The above figures are for those water customers using 1,000 gallons or less of water per month. The rate schedule and its categories is based on meter size and how many thousand gallons of water are used each month.

The council also approved on three readings an ordinance recommended by the planning and zoning commission to allow businesses to use swinging and fixed signs extending out from the business fronts and (in some cases) sides.

The ordinance, which will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the newspaper, will allow Gentry businesses to hang a swinging or place a fixed sign on the front of their buildings which extends out at approximately 90 degrees from the building front. The proposed ordinance limits the sign size to 8 square feet and requires clearance from the ground or sidewalk to be 80 inches for a swinging sign and 8 feet for a fixed sign. The signs may not extend over the street surface, and the number of such signs is limited to one per business or business entrance and allows for a second sign on the side street for corner buildings.

The reason for the change is to allow businesses to place signs on their buildings which are more visible to motorists as they drive by on the street.

Also passed by the council was a resolution authorizing Arkansas Fire and Police Board Rule #4 relating to an increase in pension benefits for retirees. The increase request of $35 per month must still be reviewed and approved by a review board in Little Rock before it goes into effect.

Kevin Johnston, Gentry's mayor, presented a proposed budget for 2017 to the council for review. The proposed budget will be examined and discussed at upcoming working sessions of the council, with the first set for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, at city hall.

The proposed departmental budgets, as well as future budget session schedules, are available at city hall.

General News on 11/16/2016

Print Headline: Council approves water, sewer rate increase, allows new signs

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