Alma water and sewer rates were raised 5 percent at a city council meeting Thursday night.

Alma City Council members approved a measure to raise water and sewer rates during their monthly meeting, with the rates going into effect immediately.

The new rates were proposed by Alma Public Works Director Mark Yardley during a workshop held in November.

During that workshop, Yardley told city aldermen that it was necessary to raise water rates slightly every year or two years to catch up with costs.

Water rates in city limits increased from $3.71 to $3.89 for the first 30,000 gallons and from $2.40 to $2.52 for water consumption more than 30,000 gallons. A minimum monthly "water only" bill, including service charges and taxes, will be $15.83, up 72 cents.

Outside city limits, water rates increased from $5.57 to $5.84 for the first 30,000 gallons and from $3.60 to $3.78 for water consumption more than 30,000 gallons. A minimum monthly "water only" bill will be $23.18, up $1.07.

Sewer rates for the first 15,000 gallons used increased from $3.29 to $3.45 and from $3.79 to $3.97 for more than 15,000 gallons. A minimum monthly "sewer only" bill will be $8.20, up 38 cents.

Monthly meter service charges also increase by 5 percent, going up from $9.72 to $10.20 for water in city limits, $14.58 to $15.30 for water outside city limits and from $4.53 to $4.75 for sewer.

City aldermen also approved the second of three three bond issues that will go to pay for projects approved by voters during a special election Aug. 12.

Alderman approved the sale of bonds for $1,455,000, for which the city will received about $1.3 million to be used for street improvements.

Yardley said the money will be used to pay for utility relocations for the Arkansas 162 relocation and bypass project. Goodman and Goodman already have been contracted to handle the utility relocations, Yardley said.