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Sweet Springs Aldermen raise water rates to deal with heavy water loss

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A leaking pool and 22 water main breaks in the past two months have left the Sweet Springs Board of Aldermen with little choice but to raise the water rates because of the amount of water the city is losing on a regular basis.

"We hate to raise taxes or rates at anytime, but on the other hand we have to have the money to cover these costs," Alderman Dee Friel said at the meeting Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Chad Eckhoff and Nate Lea of Sweet Springs Public Works presented the issues to the board.

"Over the last two months we've had a total of 22 [breaks]," Eckhoff said. "And in the three years I've been here, that's double the amount of the first two years I've been here."

The other aldermen were in agreement with Friel about raising the water rates.

"Well it's not much, I don't want to say it's not a lot of money, I have to pay taxes too, but we've got to do what we've got to do," Alderman David Goode said.

"We don't have any options, we are over budget and we don't have any other source of revenue," Alderman Tommy Goode said.

"Chad and I were talking too. We may not have seen all of it yet," Alderman Carl Winston said. "He's talking about, you know, if we get a lot of rain we're going to have breaks, freezing, thawing. I mean it's probably going to be a long fall too."

Eckhoff explained that with the drought and the 80-year-old water lines, breaks like this were bound to happen.

"It's largely due to the drought. You have 80-year-old lines and dry ground ... When everything starts moving, if there is a weak spot it's going to pop. The water breaks over the past two months have just skyrocketed, it's just been a constant water break," he said.

Some of the pipes have been repaired multiple times.

"You've got band aid after band aid after band aid ... You know, where do you stop putting band aids on it?" Eckhoff said.

Lea explained that the leak in the pool would not be able to be fixed anytime soon.

David Goode inquired about any other possible solutions for fixing the pool and stated that the water main breaks and the leaking pool were tied together as the cause for raising the rates.

"We do have a responsibility to the citizen's of Sweet Springs to try to put a lid on this and figure out some solutions," he said.

Rates will be raised from .065 to .07, meaning the minimal payment for an average user will rise from $8.66 to $9.31.

The board approved a Transient Guest Tax Review Committee Ordinance, ordinance No. 536. The new ordinance gives the board the ability to designate a separate committee to review applications made by Tax-Exempt organizations for funding projects through the Transient Guest Tax during the month of February each year.

Tina Bredehoeft was approved as a new member of the Library Board.

The city recently purchased two properties with uninhabitable structures due to foreclosure because of back taxes and has decided to put them on the market. Interested parties must include a plan for the property with their bid.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m. The meetings are open to the public.

Contact Kelsey Alumbaugh at kalumbaugh@marshallnews.com.

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