by Alan McArthur
Water rates and sewer rates are on the way up in the city of Tracy.
The rate per 1,000 gallons of water will increase by 75-cents and the sewer charge will increase by $2.50 per month.
Both increases will take effect on Jan. 1, 2009 and be applied to bills after then.
According to Lisa Rehard, attorney, the increase to the water rate is required because of increases from Platte County Water District #9. Tracy purchases water from the district.
The rate per 1,000 gallons is being increased by 75-cents from $9.85 to $10.60. No other rates for water service are being increased, including the minimum fee of $13 or the meter fee of $15.
Based on an average household usage of 3,000 gallons per month, the total bill for water would be $49.20 per month. The total is an increase from $47.70 per month previously.
The sewer rate is increasing by $2.50 per month after an increase in the rate Platte City charges to treat sewage from Tracy.
Tracy pays Platte City to treat sewage in Platte City on the east side of the Platte River.
The rate Platte City charges Tracy per 1,000 gallons treated was increased from $1.98 to $2.22.
The minimum rate Tracy charges is increasing from $28.70 to $31.20 for the first 1,000 gallons treated. The amount charged after that is $8.90 per 1,000 gallons.
According to the ordinance passed by Tracy, the minimum fee is used to pay debt on the city's sewer system and the rate is used to pay for the annual operation and maintenance.
The city will have to make a payment of $30,000 on its debt for sewer construction costs.
The average household using 3,000 gallons of water will pay $49 per month, up from $46.50.
The board voted 3-0 to approve both of the rate increases. Robert Roediger was absent from Wednesday's meeting.
In other business, the board of aldermen discussed the recent fire at the home of Woody Grutzmacher.
Frank Thurman, police chief, said the city may want to consider eventually placing a notice that the structure is not safe.
“The dangerous building ordinance would apply,” said Rehard. “It does provide that you can require people to vacate. It does provide a remedy if necessary.”
Rehard said the ordinance was proposed by the state during the ground buy-up after the flood of 1993. Properties in the immediate flood area near the Platte River were purchased. The ordinance provides that the police act as the building inspectors.
“Do we need to see how it plays out,” asked Thurman.
“(This ordinance) is probably how you should approach it,” said Rehard.
“There aren't any utilities hooked up,” said Rita Rhoads, mayor. “I turned the water off after the fire department left.”
Rehard said that the property probably needs to be either repaired or demolished, but that the owner is entitled to a hearing before the mayor.
Rhoads said she knows the front door cannot be closed and that the back door is blown out, so the home cannot be secured.
“It will take a little bit for him to get his bearings,” said Rehard.
The board did not take any action on the issue.
Grutzmacher's home was destroyed by fire the day before the meeting around 2 p.m. The home was a near total loss. A special fund was set up at Platte Valley Bank to accept donations for Grutzmacher and a fundraiser will be held at daCapo in Platte City (see related article) on Tuesday, Dec. 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The city received a letter from Bill Mann, developer, concerning the Tracy Highlands project at the southwest corner near where Highway 273 and Interstate 29 meet.
The letter proposes that Mann will improve about 2,900 feet of First Street from the development to 92 Highway to make it 20-feet wide with a 1.5 inch asphalt overlay and improve the storm ditches along the street.
The proposed development would have a truck stop/gas station as well as 11 commercial properties on 27.93 acres.
A proposed street through the development will connect to First Street. The developer will also relocate the intersection of 371 and 273 Highways to make a four-way intersection at the development with a traffic signal.