Purdy pens agreement for Monett sewer deal

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rates with Monett established, sewer inspection fees added

To lay the groundwork for piping city sewage to Monett for treatment, the Purdy City Council adopted a sewage treatment agreement and an ordinance on the operation of public and private sewers.

Mayor Steve Roden reported the six-page agreement with Monett had been thoroughly examined by legal counsel and could move forward now that funding for Purdy's $4.6 million pipeline project had been secured.

Under the agreement, Purdy will pay Monett $16 per month per user, plus $2.12 per 1,000 gallons of metered water usage at Purdy. With 381 current users on the Purdy system, and based on an average of 55,000 gallons used daily, the contract tallied an monthly payment of $9,642.58, or $115,711 annually. The formula will change annually based on metered use in Purdy. Late charges would bear a 5 percent charge.

"This rate shall be proportionately adjusted for any changes in sewer use charges assessed to in-town Monett users," the agreement stated.

A peak charge of $1.06 per 1,000 gallons would be added if Purdy's load surpasses the 200,000 gallon amount. If the transmission line for Purdy's effluent requires repair or maintenance for the section inside the Monett city limits, Purdy would pay those costs, the agreement said. Any disagreements over interpreting the agreement would be resolved through a mediator appointed by the 39th Judicial Circuit.

Roden said the effluent presently produced in Purdy is only of residential intensity. Should an industry wish to locate in Purdy, that business would be obligated to install a pretreatment system to reduce its load to residential quality.

Alderman Wayne Rupp observed that once the city has paid off the cost of the pipeline and related infrastructure, charges to its customers may lower. Currently, sewer customers pay an average of $40 a month, based on a 5,000 gallon use. When the construction project moves forward, that amount will rise to approximately $51 a month, the estimate for what constitutes 2 percent of the median income, the federal guideline to qualify for grants and loans to pay for the project.

The city council has given no indication when it will increase rates. The rise will likely not come before 2017, said City Clerk Debbie Redshaw.

As part of the grant and loan requirements through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program, aldermen adopted a new ordinance on sewer operation. The 11-page document, provided from a state model ordinance, thoroughly overhauled the city's existing rules, down to specifications on sewer connections for every separate building.

The ordinance specified a permit and inspection fee for sewer hookups. Aldermen opted to set that fee at $10 for a residential connection and $20 for an industrial connection. The city previously had no inspection fees.

Passage of the ordinance was also needed to complete the agreement with Monett, Roden said.

Purdy voters approved the $4.6 million revenue bond issue on Nov. 3, 2015, to resolve a decades-old dispute with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) over the quality of Purdy's effluent. State regulators determined the city's lagoon system could not reduce the nitrates in the system.

Rather than build a treatment plant in the city at a prohibitive cost with ongoing expenses, the city council reached a settlement with DNR to pipe its effluent six miles to Monett for treatment. Voters ratified the agreement to secure grants and loans, which now cover $4.65 million of the project's cost. Voters had to approve a bond issue of $4.6 million first, at DNR's insistence, before funding negotiations could begin.

The Monett City Council scheduled public discussion on its agreement with Purdy for Nov. 21.

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