Lynne Hermansen
Council members and city staff met Thursday, July 7 to hold a presentation and discuss the upcoming budget and revenue neutral rate for the City.
Karen Kindle, finance director, said it was important to review how the city accounts for activities and the revenues and expenditures of the different funds.
The city’s largest source of revenue is property taxes, she said. The revenue neutral rate doesn’t capture the city’s economic growth and debt however.
Kindle said they estimate a seven percent cost of living adjustment equal to the consumer price index for all urban consumers for all staff that would become effective in August.
“We have not done this previously,” she said.
Kindle said the RNR for 2023 will be 29.669 and represents a .8 percent decrease in the mill rate.
“Growth in the value of one mill results from an increase in appraised valuation,” she said. “The value has grown by $49,635 since 2009 and the most significant factor is LPKC.”
Kindle said the timing of construction and assessed values is why the mill value fluctuates.
Beth Linn, city manager, said the RNR requires the city to hold a public hearing.
Don Roberts, mayor, said the seven percent cost of living increase for staff was a lot.
“I don’t know if this will fix the high turnover at lower staff levels,” he said.
Clay Longanecker, council member, said he had concerns about the city’s trash and wanted to inquire if they could provide liners.
“The wind blows trash all over town,” he said.
Linn said they could do research and come back with possible solutions, but Gardner Disposal does let residents know when they are in violation.

Utilities funds
Tom Beckley, vice president for Raftelis Financial firm, presented the city’s water, sewer and gas rate studies.
The city will have five percent increases for water from now through 2027.
“It is in line with inflation,” he said. “Hopefully it will come back down but I want to be realistic.”
Beckley said since Gardner is no longer a partner with the sewage treatment plant it could have a negative impact with a possible $195,000 needed transfer to offset the pain and cost.
A $7.66 per month is forecast, he said with eight percent annual rate increases because of new customers using 12 million gallons beginning in 2023.
“We are projecting a draw down in balance,” he said. “This is what is needed.”
Beckley said Edgerton’s rates are similar to other  cities in the area but they don’t reflect the future.
“The inflationary crush has caused a lot of the same pressures,” he said. “Water hasn’t increased in six years.”
Beckley said they hope to see more revenue than last year but the federal government increased distribution with no extra funding.
He said they could renegotiate their water contract with Baldwin City in 2023.
Longanecker said how did Hillsdale Lake and lead copper reconstructions effect Edgerton.
Dan Merkh, public works director, said there will be an increase.
Longanecker said would there be added fees for residents.
Beckley said they shouldn’t be bearing the cost if the lead and copper pipes from the main water lines to residential homes are fixed correctly and new construction is less effected.
“It is an unfunded mandate from Feds,” he said. “A lot of communities have to deal with it.”
Beckley said they are hoping to get more revenue from sewers and they can explore options for slush disposal and if the flow goes down the chemicals go down. They could be looking at a $50,000 transfer to Capitol Projects.
Roberts said he hates utilities increases but understands it.

Vehicles and equipment
Chase Forrester, fleet maintenance staff and Dan Merkh, public works director, presented a new program for tracking the lifespan and quality of city vehicles.
“It is more data focused,” Merkh said. “Before we just replaced vehicles when they broke, but now we have started tracking maintenance in 2019 for the end of a vehicle’s useful life.”
Merkh and Forrester said moving forward there would be less subjectivity.
Forrester said they created a rating system from 1 to 5 based on years, mileage and work orders for all vehicles.
“We use it all together to get the rating,” he said.
Forrester said a poor rating is for urgent repairs and fail is the vehicle is going to cost far more money than it is worth keeping.
“We are taking data around key data points,” he said. “We will have a quick analysis every year to help identify if we have a lemon.”
The data points include preventative maintenance, urgent repairs from standard maintenance, loose ball joints and safety hazards that can be scheduled, and emergency repairs such as new transmissions etc.
Merkh said nothing was super critical right now for the city.
“Rather than waiting for 20 years of data we are starting now,” he said. “We hope it helps us understand usage and different classifications.”
Longanecker said the new program sounded like a good idea.
Linn said she wanted to give kudos to the Public Works Department.
“We hope the new system is easier to track to help us get a good picture,” she said.
Josh Beam, council member, said what happened to the old equipment and vehicles they no longer use.
Merkh said they have been successful with public surplus auction sites.
Kindle said the money gained from the auction sites is returned back into the vehicles and equipment fund.