VERNON – Council members voted unanimously Monday to increase Vernon's utility fees by three percent.

At Monday’s Vernon City Council meeting, council members approved ordinances increasing rates for monthly garbage collection and fees for water and sewer service. New rates and fees will be in effect by October, City officials said.

The council meets 7 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month at Vernon City Hall, 2808 Yellow Jacket Drive.

“We were supposed to do it three percent every year by our (State Revolving Fund), but … times have just been hard on people and we’ve put it off until we couldn’t put it off anymore,” Mayor Tina Sloan said.

Sloan later added that trash disposal and recycling company Waste Management “goes up on us every year,” yet the city had not increased rates for its customers.

“So we’re just catching up on that,” she said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Washington County Commissioner Tray Hawkins announced the county commission will pay $25 per Vernon youth enrolling in city sports. The offer comes at a time when some Vernon families are struggling to fund sports for their children, according to City officials.

“We did a sponsorship thing where we had some people that would sponsor a kid to play, and we’ve had four today – 10 in total,” Sloan said. “because we were on the edge of not having enough kids to play on some of the teams.”

Hawkins told council members the county will give the city a one-time-only check at $25 per Vernon youth based on last year’s enrollment.

In other business, council members voted to approve insurance rates for city employees. Also, in support of Tuesday’s “United We Stand” gathering hosted by Councilman Kalan Miller, the council reschedule Tuesday’s budget workshop to 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

Look for coverage of the United We Stand event in the August 26 edition of the Washington County News and online following the event at www.chipleypaper.com