by Ray Maloney
It appears water and sewer rates in Platte City will soon be flowing in an upward direction.
The Platte City Public Works Subcommittee Tuesday night passed on to the full council its approval to increase water rates by 2.4 percent. Sewer rates, which have not seen an increase in three years, would see the biggest increase.
The proposal is to increase water rates by six cents per 1,000 gallons. That comes to an increase of roughly 30 cents for the average user.
At the same time, customers would see their sewer rates increase by 30 cents per 1,000 gallons or approximately $27 per year. An estimated $38,000 in additional city funds would be generated by the proposed increase.
“Our current (sewer) rates are substantially lower than neighboring communities,” D.J. Gerht, city administrator, told the subcommittee.
The subcommittee was informed about two options that are being considered concerning the possibility of refinancing the city's current bond. That issue was also discussed at Monday's meeting of the public safety committee.
The city is considering whether to pay off the bond at its current rate with a maturity date of 2018 or obtaining a lower rate and paying the bond off in 2021. Gehrt said the payment amounts would be larger if opting for the 2018 payoff and some $170,000 would be saved if the lower rate is obtained and extending payments for three years. The subcommittee passed on its recommendation to seek the extension and lower rate.
Hendricks also explained to the subcommittee a grant by the Missouri Department of Transportation for use in refurbishing the sidewalk along Bello Mondo and running nearly one mile in length. Original plans for the project called for the walk to be extended to Hampton, but Hendricks said the $250,000 grant received as part of the Safe Routes to School program handled by MoDOT would not allow for the entire project.
He said the project, in its current form, would begin in 2014 and that the goal of extending the walk to Hampton would be one of the priorities in the near future.
The subcommittee on Tuesday also agreed to pass on to the full board recommendations to enter into an agreement with the Platte City Parks and Recreation Board for improvements being planned for Mill Street, which is the final gravel road within city limits, according to public works director Leonard Hendricks.