Thirty percent hike in water/sewer

By Marcie Klomp

Ouch! Starting July 1, residents of Lime Springs can expect a huge increase in their water and sewer (mostly sewer) rates.

Because of DNR regulations, the sewer plant needs to be completely updated by January 2017. That project is expected to cost $2.2 million, give or take. In this economy, there is very little likelihood the update can be covered by grants, although city planners are looking under every rock and bush to find some help.

In the meantime, funds need to be raised to pay for the project. That burden falls on the taxpayers.

To pay off a 20-year loan the City is expecting to obtain, sewer rates need to be at $46.75 for the average customer. The current bill for that same customer is $15.00—an increase of $31.75. (The average water bill is $24.00.)

 

 

Mayor Barb Robinson noted, “We’ve been going up 5-10 percent, which is about a buck on a bill, and that’s not cutting it. I’m sure resident aren’t going to be happy. It’s this or they rent a little blue house for their back yard!”

Councilman Kevin Bill agreed, but added, “I think we need to get the water meters up to date.” Currently there is just as much loss of water as there is water being sold.

Public Works Director Casey Sebastian explained three million gallons of water is being treated in a month. One million is used at the community center, one million is charged to customers and one million is unaccounted for.

Council believes much of the loss is because of old meters that are not reading numbers properly.

Councilman Jimmy Miller suggested a 20 percent surcharge on sewer for future projects, along with a five percent increase. This is in addition to a five percent increase in water rates, for a total of 30 percent.

The surcharge amount will be used solely for the upcoming sewer project. The water increase will help pay for the purchase of new meters (an estimated cost of $65,000-75,000, according to City Engineer George Tekippe), and the sewer increase will go toward expenses.

Sebastian has replaced 30-40 meters so far out of about 230 meters in the city. This will help cut down on some of the expense.

 

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