by Alan McArthur
Parkville's sewer rates will be slightly more expensive for citizens starting with the billing in February.
On Tuesday, the board of aldermen approved a three percent increase in the rate per gallon charged. The rate will increase from $0.544 per 100 gallons of water used to $0.56. The minimum charge for sewer service will remain $11.86.
According to Lauren Palmer, city administrator, the new rate will cause sewer bills to go up about $1.05 per month for average residential homes.
The increase will be used to pay for a new capital improvements project in 2014. The largest portion of the funds will be about $225,000 to pay for the redirection of the Eastside Pump Station to connect to the city's wastewater treatment plant instead of the facility operated by Kansas City. This is expected to save the city approximately $41,000 per year in fees.
Another portion of the funds will go to pay for a closed-circuit television inspection of the city's sewer pipes to check for damage or any leaks in the system that would need to be repaired.
The remaining amount will stay in the city's sewer fund account to maintain a minimum balance of $350,000 to pay for 90 days of operating costs.
The proposal is to continue to have a three percent increase in the next two years followed by a two percent increase before reaching the maintainable funding level. The city had the option to leave the rate untouched, but would have required a 20 percent increase in 2017 to maintain the minimum fund balance.
According to Palmer, the last rate increase was in 2009 and was a two percent hike.
The rate increase was approved by the board with a vote of 7-0 with Jackie Snyder, alderman, absent.
The board also approved a new cost share agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation for the next phase of expanding Highway 45 from Union Chapel Road to Interstate 435.
According to the staff report, the city is responsible for $5.794 million of the total project cost. The remaining amount of the total $12,654,940 will be paid by Platte County and MoDOT. The city's portion of the funding is being provided through a grant award and will not have an impact on the city's budget.
The project includes new curbs, gutters, and retaining walls along the route. There will be roundabouts at Brink Myers Road and Timber Ridge Street. The multimodal trail will also be extended along one side of the roadway.
After the project is completed, the city will assume responsibility for maintaining the improvements, such as the trail and any decorative landscaping.
According to Palmer, the cost share agreement is scheduled to be approved by Platte County in February and the project will then have a public hearing in March. If approved, the project could begin construction in the spring of 2016.
In other business, there will soon be a new site to recycle old electronics in Parkville after the board approved an application from Computer Recycle USA.
The container to collect the old electronics will be located just north of Lewis Street in the back parking lot of the Mid-Continent Public Library in the Parkville Commons. It will be located next to the current glass recycling container at the site.
Tech Express LLC, a new computer repair company in the Parkville Commons, sponsored the recycling container and agreed to monitor the container. There is no cost to the city or citizens to place recyclable items in the container.
According to Sean Ackerson, assistant city administrator and community development director, this is one of the first computer recycling collection containers in Kansas City. There is no set date for when the container will arrive, but Ackerson said he expects it will be on site soon.