Special to The Gardner News
Edgerton city council had a full agenda to work through at their Dec. 14 meeting. They renewed a number of agreements, considered rate increases for water and sewer and approved $28 million in bonds for a LPKC expansion.
Study recommends rate increases
The council considered acceptance of a water and sewer rate study report, and an increase in the sewer rates as recommended in the report, including setting a date for the rate increase to take effect.
Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. (RFC) conducted the updated rate study. Presentation was given by Karen Kindle, city finance director, and Tom Beckley, Raftelis senior manager.
The updated study includes data resulting from the addition of sewer customers at LPKC and the implementation of new rates established on May 1, 2016.
The objective is to ensure financial sufficiency to meet operation and maintenance expense, debt service and to develop sound and sufficient reserve fund targets for both utilities.
The study recommends a 2 percent annual increase in water rates for 2018-2023.
“These are inflationary increases basically and to some extent they really just cover some of our increases in operating and maintenance costs,” said Beckly.
The study recommends a 5 percent increase in rates for 2018, 2019 and 2020, a 4 percent increase in 2021 and a 3 percent increase in each year thereafter. The recommended rate increases allow Edgerton to gradually increase the rates to meet the debt service for the conversion of the old treatment plant into a lift station, for which principal repayment begins in 2023.
Discussion indicated the increases would represent a little over $2 a month to the average customer.
Ron Conus, council member, asked if the intermodal had helped lower the rates. Beckly said that it had. He said three large facilities had recently been added and that the first data from those additions led to rates being lowered during the course of the study.
“We were pleasantly surprised when those three customers hooked on. It basically increased the flow from LPKC by 40 percent,” Beckly said.
The report included a chart comparing Edgerton’s rates to other cities in the region. The report states that even after the proposed 2018 rate increase, Edgerton water and sewer rates will still be lower than most neighboring communities.
Beckly said that national averages is water and sewer rates increase is 5.6 percent a year.
Council members discussed concerns with raising rates but in the end saw it as necessary.
A motion to accept the rate study carried with a 5-0 vote.
Contract and Agreements
– By 5-0 vote, council approved an amendment to the loan agreement with KDHE for the Automated Meter Reading Project. The project is now complete.
The amendment reduces the loan amount from the $300,000 in the original agreement to $247,773.33, the final cost of the Automated Meter Reading Project.
A staff presentation on the completion of the water meter project was given later, during the city administrator’s report.
• Council approved renewal of a use and maintenance agreement with Johnson County Library for Edgerton Library. The agreement includes changes suggested by the Edgerton cuty attorney and agreed to by Johnson County Library attorney. The city attorney changed the term of the agreement from five years to annual.
• Council approved renewal of a facility use and maintenance agreement with Edgerton Historic Society for Edgerton Community Museum. The agreement calls for the historical society to pay a usage and maintenance fee. Council has the option to set the appropriate amount for that fee upon renewal of the agreement. Since the start, that has been $1 a year. Cindy Crooks made the motion to approve at that same rate, and the motion carried with a 5-0 vote.
• City staff is in the beginning stages of a comprehensive review of the Unified Development Code and recommended council approve an agreement to hire Ron Williamson to provide planning consultant services to help write the UDC amendments. The proposed agreement will be on a per-hour basis at $155 per hour. Work will be done at the direction of the assistant city administrator and city administrator. The agreement can be cancelled with a 14-day notice at any time by either the city or Williamson.
• Council considered a contract with Weather or Not, Inc. to provide weather forecasting
services. Trey Whitaker, public works superintendent, gave the staff presentation.
The city used the service for the first time in 2017. Whitaker gave examples of how it had helped during the year and said it takes the guesswork out of forecasting.
Don Roberts, mayor, said he had been skeptical of the contract when it was considered last year but had become convinced since then. That’s mainly due to how well it worked during Frontier Days this year, when strong storms passed through on festival weekend. Roberts said they were getting accurate info on how many minutes away heavy storms and dangerous lightning were and how soon it would hit.
“The ability it gave us to keep citizens safe during that event was pretty amazing,” said Roberts.
The total cost for the one year service contract is $10,082.00.
Council approved the contract for weather forecasting services with a 5-0 vote.
The following items were approved in the Consent Agenda:
• Resolution No. 12-14-17A declaring the boundaries of the city
• Cereal Malt Beverage License for Jay Kay Inc. for 2018
• Seven animal permit applications for city residents with livestock in city limits (chickens, goats, cows and horses)
• Resolution No. 12-14-17B establishing fees and rates for permits, licenses and services within the City of Edgerton
• Amendment No. 2 to the Loan Agreement with KDHE for Project No. 2903 reducing the loan amount from the $300,000 in the original agreement to $247,773.33, the final cost of the Automated Meter Reading Project
• Amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism regarding the Community Lakes Assistance Program
• Ordinance No. 1068, establishing the Big Bull Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Major Maintenance Reserve Fund. Initial deposit required is $50,000.