Slater to see water rate increase in April

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A future water rate increase topped discussion during the regular Slater City Council meeting Tuesday evening, Jan. 17.

Mayor Stephen Allegri said he wanted to clarify the city's water rate increase, saying there will be an increase of $2-4 per month in order to pay for a florescent UV system that is now required by the Department of Natural Resources. The system will cost approximately $100,000.

"If we did by the DNR, then our rates could be up to $100 a month, but us being somewhat rebels, said that we are not going to allow that to happen," Allegri said. "The DNR wants us to ideally charge 3 percent of the town's gross income as the base rate, which would come out to about $38-40 for water and sewer. That would mean that before you flush the stool, turn on the tap, it's going to cost you $80-100."

Allegri said he and Assistant City Administrator Gene Griffith had been to numerous meetings and conferences and that they would not allow that large of an increase to be charged.

He said the increase would be due to over-regulation.

"Any time there's a new regulation, it's going to cost somebody some money," Allegri said.

Griffith gave two different rate options, saying the first would result in an increase of $2.50, and the second option would result in a $3.65 increase. He also said there will be no increase in sewer rates. The water rate increase will begin in April.

During Allegri's mayor report, he announced that councilman Wayne Heuman had given a letter of resignation, effective after Tuesday's meeting.

"I wouldn't be resigning, but I moved out of Slater," Heuman said.

"I was very impressed with the job that he's done; no politics involved, just trying to do what was best for the city, and he certainly fulfilled that obligation, and I'm sure going to miss his support," Allegri said. "As a city employee, he did a wonderful job, and as a councilman he did a wonderful job."

Allegri said he will have a recommendation for the council by the next regular council meeting.

The mayor also listed those who have filed for council positions available in the April election. The following people have filed to run for city council in April: Ward I -- Crystal Wiseman, Ward II -- Glen Thomas and Brenda Smith, Ward III -- Matt Campbell, Ward IV -- Terry Jordan and Samuel Gibson.

During the financial report, Griffith pointed out a few key points, saying that 2016 did not end as well as the previous year, and noted some of the areas that had large differences.

One such instance included water. Griffith said 2015 came out as a profit of approximately $26,000, but 2016 came out to approximately $63,000 under due to a telemetry upgrade and the meter reading equipment upgrades. The same was said about wastewater.

"Last year we ended $66,000 in the positive, this year we are $25,000 in the red," he said. "Basically it's the sewer work; we spent $28,000 that last week of December when we lined all those sewers."

Griffith also reported that the cemetery, park and library funds ended in the positive for 2016. He said that each entity that was listed in the negative was adjusted with budget revisions during the last meeting.

Plans for Steve McQueen Day have already begun, with a tentative date set for Saturday, April 29. Griffith said a meeting will be held next week to discuss event plans for the day. Car shows have been held during the event in past years, with an average of 80 vehicles, Griffith added. Additional ideas include an auto swap meet on Main Street.

Allegri said he received letters from fifth grade students in regard to the city possibly building a pet cemetery.

"I had talked about, you know, a pet cemetery, and Slater's fifth grade wrote me a letter, or they actually all the students in that class wrote a letter, giving their opinion of what they thought about a pet cemetery," Allegri said. "I thought that was really cute, and if you'll read these letters, they are really quite enjoyable and quite sweet . . . I wrote to each a response to their letter."

He added that the city will have to look into building a pet cemetery in the spring.

Cathie Jeffries, Jake Brumit, Wayne Heuman, Crystal Wiseman, Brenda Smith, Brett Hemeyer, Gene Griffith and Stephen Allegri were present during the meeting.

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