City moves to adopt sewer rate increases

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
   On a vote of 3-0 city aldermen moved and passed Resolution-997 which is an intention of the city to increase sewer rates and charges for users of the Municipal Water System.
   A public hearing on the rate increase will be held on July 14 at 6 p.m. in Norby Hall at Blue Sky Villa, 400 N. Virginia St.
   The city, to date, has pulled in three grants to help pay for the sewer updating project. One is the Treasurer State Endowment Grant for $500,000, a Water Resources Development Act Grant for $245,000, and an EPA (Environmental Protection Act) State and Tribal Assistance Grant for $477,000.
   The sewer project, already under construction, has an estimated cost of just over $4.2 million. City Finance Officer Agnes Fowler explained, “It is necessary for the city to increase its sewer rates to pay the principal interest on the bonds.”
   The city plans on issuing sewer system revenue bonds in multiple series for the purpose of paying a portion of the costs of designing and construction improvements to the ailing sewer system.
   Current prices to users look like this: Based on the diameter for the service line of ¾-inch or less, you pay an existing rate of $22.50. For a one-inch line it is $31.50; 1-1/2 inch line, $88; two-inch line, $136; three-inch line $210; and a four-inch line, $421.
   The new proposed rate change would be for a ¾-inch line, $25.58; one-inch $35.81; 1-1/2 inch line $100.02; two-inch line, $152.48; three-inch line $239.42 and a four-inch line, $479.10.
   If passed, the billing date for the new charges will appear on the September water/sewer bill.
   In other action at the council meeting, building permits at 405 S. Maryland and 219 S. Kansas were approved.
   Another resolution, R-996 was also passed in regards to $6,000 for a revolving loan fund for the Port Authority.
   In an accident on March 14, (vehicle), it was found the city employee was at fault and a letter of reprimand will be placed in his personnel file.
   The council moved and passed on a 3-0 vote to set wind turbine permitting fee at $95.
   Public Works Director Rich Anderson asked permission to advertise for a new four-wheel drive vehicle and a person for the wastewater plant.
   He told the council, “We’re short on vehicles already. We held off getting one last year.” The council approved the request to get bids on a vehicle and put out an ad for a new employee.
   Use of the city park for a 4-H Club dog class was approved. Action to allow Shane McFarland to have Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes in a city park was put on hold until more information is received.
   Chief Gary Dent reported that security was provided for the Cold Hard Cash concert on Thursday at the theatre, an arrest has been made of an individual for a rash of thefts and break-ins and that with the department still short handed he has not been able to take a vacation and asked for an extension which was OK’ed by the council.
   Council members discussed the turning over of delinquent water and sewer charges to the county for collection. This action passed.
   There was a discussion with county representatives regarding dispatching service fees. No action was taken and the matter was tabled until a later date.
   There was talk of kids racing down Main St. on bikes without regard to pedestrians and/or people who may be coming out of businesses. No action was taken.
   The next regular meeting of the council will be on July 6, 7:30 p.m. in city hall, 411-1/2 S. Main.