DNR’s definition of a disadvantaged community is “any community with a population of less than 3,300, whose user rates will be at or above 2% of the MHI, and the MHI is at or below 75% of the state average MHI.” As shown in the table below, all incorporated areas within the Commission service area fit the definition and meet the criteria to be designated a “disadvantaged” community. Analysis of the county subdivisions predominantly served by the Commission indicates that their average MHI is 72.7% of the state average. This evaluation of the disadvantaged community status was validated in a letter from Spencer, Fane, Britt and Browne, the reservoir project’s counsel.

Spencer Fane Memorandum

The North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission’s (NCMRWC) current service area is one of the most economically challenged and underserved regions in Missouri. Multiple communities have a Median House Income (MHI) of less than 50% of the state average (2006-2010 American Community Survey) and poverty rates that are notable in Missouri as some of the highest.

Table – Incorporated Areas in the NCMRWC Service Area

2012 Population
User Rates as percent of State MHI
User Rates as percent of Local MHI
Percent of State Average MHI
Browning 265 2.18% 3.88% 56.2% Yes
Green City 657 2.18% 3.62% 60.3% Yes
Greencastle 275 2.18% 4.49% 48.6% Yes
Harris 61 2.18% 4.67% 46.7% Yes
Humphreys 118 2.18% 6.55% 33.3% Yes
Milan 1960 2.18% 2.98% 73.3% Yes
Newtown 183 2.18% 3.59% 60.8% Yes
Osgood 48 2.18% 3.67% 59.4% Yes
Pollock 89 2.18% 6.16% 35.4% Yes

Further comparison of statewide user rates as reported in the Missouri Rural Water Association’s 2012 User Rate Survey to MHI show the proposed service area is clearly in need of a reduction in short term and long term water rates.

This figure shows the statewide ratio of water rate to MHI.