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Extreme weather can result in extreme utility bills, but Dothan Utilities officials note some services they provide can reduce customers’ costs.

With a minor to moderate drought lingering the past few months, some residents have utilized sprinkler systems to keep their lawns and plants beautiful. The extra usage, though, drives up water bills – sometimes in more ways than one.

Dothan Utilities calculates sewer charges based on water usage. Since meters cannot tell where the water goes, sewer charges will include irrigation usage unless customers request the installation of an irrigation-specific meter, DU engineer Lindsay McDonald said.

An irrigation meter will cost customers a one-time fee of either $550 or $800 (depending on water hookup location) plus a monthly meter fee – usually a few dollars a month. Depending on how much water customers use for irrigation each year, it could be cost-efficient to request the installation of an irrigation-only meter, McDonald said.

Dothan Utilities staffers will help customers assess whether the irrigation-only meter will be beneficial to them if requested, she added.

DU Director Billy Mayes said several municipalities charge sewer rates, and basing sewer rates on water usage is the cheapest option for customers. While some companies manufacture meters that monitor sewer usage, they are expensive to purchase and maintain, he added.

The city’s water rates can be viewed here , while the city’s sewer rates can be seen here.

Elsewhere the oppressive heat of southern Alabama summers also drive up utility costs. While DU electric operations superintendent Chris Phillips encourages customers to take steps to conserve energy wherever possible, sometimes meters produce incorrect readings.

If a customer believes his or her meter is malfunctioning, that person can request an assessment for a $25 fee. The city reimburses the fee if it determines the meter is producing inaccurate readings, Phillips said.

Phillips encourages those with questions about their bills to contact Dothan Utilities at 615-3300.

Houston County hogs: The Houston County Sheriff’s Office could soon obtain three motorcycles from Holland Motor Sports, but don’t expect deputies to necessarily respond to calls with them.

Holland, the local Harley-Davidson dealer, has offered to lease the motorcycles to the department for $1 per month as part of a promotional effort. If county commissioners approve the agreement Monday, the sheriff’s office will use the motorcycles for special events like parades, funeral escorts, and Foster Fest, Maj. Bill Rafferty said Thursday.

Rafferty said his department will cover the insurance costs on the vehicles. He added the department has conducted similar deals with Holland in the past.

Committee review: The Dothan Recreation Board helps shape the policies and procedures Dothan Leisure Services implements in its operations. The board also makes recommendations to the Dothan City Commission on naming athletic facilities after key community members and groups among its other duties.

Each city commissioner appoints a member from their district to the board, and the mayor also appoints a member. Current members are Bobby Hewes (mayor), Tony Donelson (District 1), Kyle Cook (District 2), Jason Cosby (District 3), Chris Jones (District 4), Tom Ziegenfelder (District 5) and Larry Patrick (District 6).

Meeting schedule: The Houston County Commission will meet Monday at 10 a.m. on the third floor of the Houston County Administrative Building. The Dothan-Houston County Communications District Board will meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Dothan-Houston County Emergency Operations Center building.


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