Meridian Waterworks System.
The Meridian, Miss., City waterworks, as the auditor’s books show, is sufficiently able, under the management of Superintendent William F. Wilcox, to pay all operating expenses, all interest on bonds, give the city its water free, if necessary, and, after providing a sinking fund, earn $5,286.87 per annum. This earning also is being gradually increased. Another remarkable feature is that the United States court records show that the operating expenses of the old company were 2 per cent, of the gross earnings and, under municipal ownership, the operating expenses have been reduced to 37.83 per cent., a saving of 4.17 per cent. The cost of property and construction to July 1, 1907, amounted to $268,838.34, and the profit and loss account showed a surplus of $49,760.61.
The receipts for water consumed were as follows: July 1, 1907, to December 31, 1908—From city, $8,125; from general consumers, $75,308.25; total, $83,433.25. The disbursements were as follows; Pumping system, $5,792.30; pumping system fuel, $8,390.90; pumping system filters, $1,589.13; reservoir and watershed, $1,108.25; distributing system, $1,135.33; building and grounds, $402.88; repairs street mains, $333.44 ; general expenses (including salaries and office expenses), $12,813.67; bond interest for eighteen months, $21,673.63; net profit after paying all expenses, $30,193.72: total, $83,433.25. The earnings of the water plant and the proceeds of the $50,000 special water bond issue have been used to defray the expenses of improving the capacity and efficiency of the water plant. The commission having laid 16 miles of mains—an increase of 80 per cent— can now give 100 lb. water pressure all over the city. There have been added over 100 fire hydrants and approximately 200 valves, and there is now being built a combined settling basin and reservoir, and a 6.000,000-gal, high-duty pump is being installed. One great disadvantage in operation has been the fact that the pumping machinery has been used twenty years. The earnings of the water plant to January 1, 1910, and the special bond issue of $50,000 voted last year, will pay all improvements. The proposed $250,000 bond issue will not increase the burden of the taxpaver nor put any additional debt on the water plant, but is to pay the original purchase price, which, under the citv’s contract, is to become due and payahle on November 1, 1909.