Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
A brief public hearing was held at the Feb. 25 Edgerton City Council meeting for public input and questions to the city’s water system. The new automated meter reading system is an estimated $3,000 project with Neptune Technology Group.
Beth Linn, city administrator, said the upgrade in the city’s meter reading system will allow the city to read the data more accurately or quicker on a daily basis versus having to wait an entire month for the data.
“It’s an exciting project,” she said.
Denise Sullivan, resident, asked about how water will effect the meters’ reading capabilities.
“Our water meters are notoriously under water and the system is electronic,” she said. “How is that going to work?”
Linn said the meters are constructed to be protected from outdoor weather. “And it gives us a chance to touch every meter.”
Don Roberts, mayor, agreed with Linn and said that the new system shouldn’t have more issues than the current system.
“It’s a totally sealed system,” he said.
The loan application for the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan fund through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was approved.
Following this approved measure, the city council also approved items related to the city water system that included amending part of the Edgerton Municipal Code to revise the investment of the city’s idle funds and appointing the city administrator and community development director as administrators of the city’s investment management program.
Jeff White, financial advisor for Edgerton, said the code is not in compliance with the state statute. The staff updated the code, he said, along with the investment policy.
“Our investment rates are considerably low,” he said. “I’m excited the city has enough cash that it’s important enough to do this, and it is enough that we need to pay attention.”
Roberts asked what the difference was to have Columbia Capital manage their portfolio over investing in certificates of deposit with the bank across town.
“What happens once they go back up in interest rates,” he said.
White explained that CDs for the city are bond related.
“In our experiences lately,” he said. “the bank doesn’t want these funds.”
White said there were a range of portfolios they were looking at that allows enough cash to operate and be able to invest the rest to provide the best returns.
Roberts asked if there were any penalties to withdraw.
White said the primary risks are the day to day market risks.
“The principal interest is given up,” White said, “But the rest is up to the market. It’s the buying intent to hold securities to maturity.”
White, also, said that there was enough money rolling over every month.
“If it needs to come up, there should be enough for unexpected projects,” he said. “I’m confident in our experience with other communities that the city earnings exceeds our fees.”
The annual contract with Columbia Capital will go to Sept. 30, 2016.
In other business:
Linn, city administrator, then added an agenda item to select Larkin Lamp Rynearson as the design consultant for the West 8th Street Sidewalk Project. This project was prioritized as part of the November Capital Improvement Program during the November work session for design and construction in 2016, she said.
The project to install sidewalk and ADA ramps at intersections along 8th Street from Nelson to Edgewood and install a connecting sidewalk at 7th Street and Heather Knoll is not to exceed $35,000 estimated by LLR.
City Council members approved jumpstarting the project. Linn said they hope to have a substantial amount of the project completed before the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, as this area is heavily used by children and trucks.
Following the meeting, the council held a brief work session for a discussion on a water and sewer rate study related to the automated meter improvements with the city water system.
Tom Arn, principal consultant with Raftelis, presented the study’s findings on the water and sewer system to the council. The study included two scenarios of charging residents by either a service charge for a certain amount of usage or by volume. Arn said Edgerton’s water rates are on the low end of similar cities. “Significant increases on these rates are needed,” he said.
Cindy Crooks, council member, said she agreed with Arn that Edgerton’s rates are way behind. Linn said the infrastructure and connection to wastewater is going to be huge.