Irrigation rates and other fees charged by the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 in 2008 will go up about 6.25 percent, a percentage that matches the increase for treated water in the current year’s budget adopted in August.

Water district directors approved the rates at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Irrigation rates will go up from $24 to $25.50 per acre-foot, General Manager John Chisholm said before the proposal from the board’s finance committee was adopted by the entire board.

A variety of fees such as those charged for 2-inch connections, boat docks and swimming docks will also go up about 6.25 percent.

The new irrigation rate is still below the $26.40 per acre-foot charged in 2005, according to a history of the rate structure provided by the water board. It was reduced to $24 last year, which is the same rate that had been effect from 2001 to 2004.

The district’s fiscal year begins in September, but the board traditionally sets irrigation rates and other fees before the first of the calendar year.

In other business at the board’s November meeting, directors heard from representatives of Freese and Nichols concerning the water treatment plant under construction and an emergency action plan required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The board approved change order in the amount of $85,042.27 to cover the tariff for Oncor retail delivery service, a figure Chisholm said the district knew would need to be paid but could not be included in the budget until the exact cost was known. The amount pays for additional service to the treatment plant needed as a result of treatment plant improvements, and is paid to the utility, not the construction company.

Janice Murphy of Freese and Nichols reviewed a recent TCEQ inspection of the Lake Brownwood Dam, which she said found the dam in good condition overall with eight items listed needing attention — all but one involving maintenance that the district staff has or is addressing. The one item needing board action involves the development of an emergency action plan to be implemented in case of a failure of the dam.

“Lake Brownwood is rated as a large dam with a high hazard classification, but that is based on what could happen downstream if a failure actually happens, not the likelihood of that happening,” Murphy told the board.

Board members expressed reluctance at being forced to spend $55,700 on the plan to be developed by Freese and Nichols, but approved the expenditure.

Murphy said the plan would include hydraulic modeling to predict what areas of the county would be affected if the dam fails. Directors asked Murphy what provisions could be made to compel city and county emergency response teams to follow the district’s plan, since law enforcement would be responsible for notification and evacuation. She said the plan would need to incorporate such activities.

In other business, the board:

Approved a request from Gaylon Jernigan to declare part of water district property on Lot 8 of the Sterling C. Holoway Addition, .320 acres near Rocky Cove at Lake Brownwood as surplus, after a survey was completed, and made plans to obtain an appraisal for purchased consideration. Declared Jolie Bay Island, which covers 3.03 acres, as surplus and approved it sale at the appraised value of $30,000 to Jimmy Martin.