Council adopts new utility rates

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

After five months of discussion, the Cassville City Council adopted new water and sewer rates at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night. The new rates became effective with the approval of the ordinance.

The new rates set the base water fee at $11 and the base sewer fee at $8. The water usage fee will increase to $3.25 per 1,000 gallons, and the sewer usage fee will increase to $5.98 per 1,000 gallons.

The city's previous base water rate was $10.27 and the base sewer rate was $8.09. The old water usage rate was $1.80 and the sewer usage rate was $2.92.

If a Cassville citizen uses 5,000 gallons of water in a month, they will see a $23.19 increase in their water and sewer bill.

The approved ordinance also establishes new rates for water users who live outside the city limits of Cassville and commercial water users.

Customers who live outside Cassville will be charged a $23 base fee for water services and $6.55 for each 1,000 gallons of water used.

Commercial water users that utilize one- or two-inch meters will also be charged a $23 base fee, and commercial water users that utilize three- and four-inch meters will pay a $28.50 base fee.

Water usage charges and sewer base fee and usage charges for commercial customers are the same as the residential fees.

The newly approved rates have been estimated to generate $1,266,854.83 in revenue for the city's water and sewer departments. The city has budgeted $528,490 in water expenditures and $616,963 in sewer expenditures for 2012.

Aldermen Terry Heinz, Jeff Parsons, Bill Hill and Darrell Ledenham voted in favor of the new water and sewer rates, which are lower than the ones initially approved by a split vote of the council back on Nov. 7.

In new business, the council amended the 2011 operating and capital budget. Darelyn Cooper, city clerk and finance officer, presented the aldermen with two budget adjustments.

According to a report submitted by Cooper, the city received a $64,905 certificates of participation reimbursement, a $786 reimbursement in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and $18,607 in increased capital improvement sales tax revenue. These funds increased the capital budget revenues.

The city also saw an increase in capital budget expenditures due to several infrastructure repairs. Expenses increased $97,291, which left a $12,993 deficit in the capital budget.

Operations budget revenues also increased $67,321 due to general and parks and stormwater sales tax revenues and increases in liquor license, construction permit and trash collections fees.

Although operating expenses only increased $29,720 over the amount that was approved for the 2011 budget, the water department lost $17,200 and the sewer department lost $25,950 last year, bringing the operations budget total increase in expenditures to $72,870. This leaves a $5,549 deficit in the operations budget.

"It is very likely that we will have to dip moderately into the reserve fund for this deficit," said Cooper. "We do still have a few weeks left though, and sales tax revenues could come in better than expected."

The aldermen approved budget adjustments to the 2011 capital and operations budgets.

In other business, the Cassville City Council:

* Heard that the city will end the year with a 1.6 percent increase in sales tax revenues.

* Approved an agreement for legal services with Ellis, Cupps and Cole, P.C.

* Voted to continue purchasing alum from Watermark.

* Approved a $22,507 bid for a 2012 Dodge Charger V6 patrol vehicle from Landmark Dodge, of Independence. The city also received a $22,668 bid from Lou Fusz Dodge, of O'Fallon.

* Voted to continue an agreement with Jon Elkins and Company for cleaning services. The city is charged $600 per month for services.

* Approved a $2,502.01 expenditure for patrol vehicle equipment.

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