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Whether a city the size of Enterprise should still have a three-member water board managing a budget of nearly $7 million annually is the question being brought to the table by an Enterprise city councilman who also serves on the three-member water board.
Increasing the number of water board members to five is a suggestion that District 2 Councilman and Water Board Member Eugene Goolsby has asked both the board and city council to consider.
“I think it needs to be a priority this quarter,” said Goolsby at the city council strategic planning meeting held Jan. 20. “Serving on the water board and knowing of the instances where we have had only two people there deciding on something as important as rate increases, I think it’s very important that we address this.
“During our past administration, I presented to the city council and the water board that, in my opinion, the water board should have five members instead of three,” Goolsby said in a Jan. 18 written communication to the city council and water board members. “The city council, at that time, agreed with me.”
Goolsby said that when the matter of increasing board size was brought before the water board, comprised also of John L. Mitchell and Ben Beckham, the matter was not acted upon. “Their concern was that the city was on the verge of an election and could possibly have a new mayor and city council who would not be familiar with what is going on,” Goolsby said. “Additionally, they did not seem to see the importance of increasing the number from three to five.”
Goolsby explained that with only three members, should one be absent there is still a quorum and the matter could be voted upon. “One person could make a motion, the other could second the motion, both could vote on the motion and it is a done deal,” he said. “I think it is important for more than two people to be making decisions for the water board.”
Goolsby cited the water board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2021, as an example of the reality of the situation during which Water Works Board Field Superintendent Alan Mahan presented to the board Resolution 12-07-21 which added a $5.50 per month fee increase to each residential water meter and a $20 per month fee increase to all commercial water meters.
Goolsby said Mitchell was absent from that meeting. “I made a motion to adopt the resolution with the implementation postponed for further discussion. Mr. Beckham seconded the motion. We both voted in favor. The motion passed,” Goolsby said. “This decision, effecting our entire city, was made by only two board members.”
Goolsby said that a special called meeting of the water board was held Dec. 14, 2021, to further discuss the water fee implementation and a joint work session with the city council to discuss the water line replacement in coordination with the city’s street resurfacing project. “Again, only two water board members were present—Mitchell and Beckham—as I was in the hospital,” Goolsby said. “Decisions like these need more heads than two,” he stressed. “I still am very much in favor of changing the number of water board members from three to five and I think now is the time to get it done.”