Council discusses ways to cut costs for FY2012

At the budget workshop on February 15, the Council had to make some tough decisions regarding five City-sponsored entities—pool, parks, library, community center and fire department. Council members also talked about other ways the City could cut expenses.
Deputy City Clerk Mary Schatz said, “We make nothing on garbage; in fact we lose money because we pay for one-third of the stamps and one-third for the time needed to do statements.” Garbage is billed out with the water bills and everything that comes in goes to the vendor, Hawkeye Sanitation. She suggested a $1.00 surcharge on each statement to recoup those expenses. That would add up to about $3,000 per year.
In addition, the water/sewer account was at a negative $7,750 this past year. According to the state of Iowa, it is supposed to be self-sufficient. To make up that difference, an increase of 10 percent would bring that account balance to the positive.
Council person Roger Lepa observed, “Compared to other towns, we’re still cheaper.” Raising the water and sewer rates would not be out of line with other towns.
Schatz mentioned the City of Cresco raised its rates over 20 percent in the past year.The Council voted to add the surcharge for garbage and raise rates 10 percent starting with the March bill due April 12.
Lepa mentioned another cost savings could be on the degreaser used at the left station. “We could go with cheaper chemicals. That could save $5,000-6,000 a year.” He explained it was needed because it would build up over time with all the grease that gets put down the drain from people doing dishes. “Or we could use a fire hose to clean it out. That’s what I used to do.”
In the coming months more savings will be looked at. Any suggestions from the public would be welcome.

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