Harrisonville considering utility cost hike

bbashioum@demo-mo.comAugust 16, 2013 

Harrisonville city leaders are proposing an increase in utility rates for 2014.

During a special Board of Alderman budget meeting Aug. 12, City Administrator Keith Moody made a suggestion for slight increases of the city’s water, sewer and trash services next year.

Among the changes presented at Monday’s meeting, Moody proposed a three-cent increase in the cost of the city’s water rate for the first 1,000 gallons of water residents and businesses use, jumping the current cost of $11.12 to $11.15. In addition, the rate for each additional 1,000 gallons would increase from $7.055 to $7.10, a 4.5 cent increase.

A spike in sewer rates by four cents is also being considered.

In the analysis presented to the BOA, the city wants to increase the sewer rate for the first 1,000 gallons of water from $10.36 to $10.40, and from $6.707 to $6.75 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Moody expects the increase will be no more that $6 per year for a single-family residence.

“We’re still in a position that our utilities are above average, and I recognize that,” Moody said. “But, the very modest increase in the water and sewer rate that I’m proposing is not going to move us into a position where we’re at the top.”

The increases are tied to anticipated costs of improvements at the city’s water treatment facility, which are recommended by Burns and McDonnell engineers who have been working with the city, Moody said

Within the budget, Moody is also looking to residents to pick up the tab for the Household Hazardous Waste collection program, which has always been provided by the city in the past.

The city’s contract with Town and Country to provide trash disposal will not see an increase for 2014, but as presented in the budget discussion, the city plans to begin charging property owners an additional $2.76 annually to pay for the HHW program, which costs the city $10,000 annually.

“Historically, the general fund has paid for the HHW collection program,” Moody said. “Well, that program is a benefit to the residential customers of our community, and the general fund is paying for it. It is clearly, a solid waste service. What that does is free up $10,000 within general fund to work on sidewalks, streets, curbs – police.”

Despite the proposed increases to water, sewer and trash services, electric rates are not expected to go up next year.

Director of Finance Mike Tholen says the city’s electric utility has a rate structure in place to meet the basic needs of the utility.

He said the city uses a rate analysis tool, a series of formulas developed as part a recent outside engineering review, to project the ability of the existing rate structure to meet future revenue requirements.

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