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MMU to raise water and wastewater rates (Updated 4:02 p.m.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ken Gieringer, director of administrative services, spoke at the Marshall Municipal Utilities board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13, about an increase in water and wastewater rates to go into effect January 1, 2013. There will also be surcharges for extra strength wastewater that go into effect on that date.

Water rates are to increase by 96 cents per month for an average residential household that uses 4,600 gallons. The approved rate increase is predicted to provide approximately $75,000 in additional funds.

"Only required maintenance has been done to the distribution center," Gieringer's report states. "Material costs have escalated 10 to 20 percent over the past few years. ... It's a way to provide funds to keep up with projects needed at the water plant."

A motion to increase the wastewater base charge to $28.50 per month, eliminate the I & I line item on invoices and to increase the volume charge by 2 cents per 100 gallons was also approved.

The average residential customer's monthly bill will increase by $3.42 per month.

According to Gieringer's report, major projects that need to be completed at the Water Treatment plant include SCADA system upgrade and expansion, upgrade of equipment/painting and color-coding in the basement and replacement of meters. Because of the limited manpower at the Water Treatment Plant projects needing to be done will have to be contracted out.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand--treatment of organic waste such as grease and oils in wastewater--surcharges will rise from 21 cents per pound to 22 cents per pound and Total Suspended Solids surcharges will rise from 18 cents per pound to 21 cents per pound.

"Those charges only effect potentially three customers, not the general public," Gieringer clarified. "Only the industrial costumers are tested and we charge them for what we think it will cost to treat that."

A motion to accept the proposal to renew the Water System Owner Supervised Plan with a not-to-exceed cost of $17,200 was brought up by Monty Chase and approved by the board.

Also approved were two actions discussed by Jeff Bergstrom: replacing direct-buried underground at Westport Garden Apartments and west substation relays.

At Westport Garden Apartments most of the wire is located under the driveways or parking lots, has an exposed neutral and is below the current insulation standard, according to Bergstrom.

A Hot Tag Line is to be added to the west substation relays as a safety measure.

The board approved an action by Jim Johnson to buy a conveyor belt for $7,049 for the recycling center.

In place of Ginny Ismay, Rick Bailey presented an update about environmental services.

Megan Baldridge, employee relations, gave an update about health insurance proposals.

General Manager Kyle Gibbs asked the boards advice about the MoPEP Billing Determinant Proposal.

A pool of 35 different cities formed in 2000 to share in the costs of electricity production and usage.

"Cost between towns that have good load factors and bad load factors have changed from a 12 percent to a 32 percent spread and ones with higher costs dont like that," Gibbs said. The spread is the difference in the percent of the load factor that each town uses.

The proposal would be to socialize the costs of this pool so that towns with poor load factors, using less than 50 percent of their alloted amount, would benefit.

Short term, Marshall is not effected by this proposal because its' load factor is right in the middle at 52 percent.

Contact Kelsey Alumbaugh at kalumbaugh@marshallnews.com

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