Archive for Thursday, December 4, 2008

City passes water hike to residents

December 4, 2008

Water will be more expensive after the first of the year after action taken by the Baldwin City Council at its Monday meeting.

Lawrence, which supplies Baldwin City’s water, raised its price 33 cents per 100 cubic feet. After lengthy discussion, the council voted 3-1 to pass that jump to ratepayers. Council Member Ted Brecheisen Jr. voted against it and Council Member Tony Brown wasn’t at the meeting. The item had been tabled at the previous meeting.

“We rehashed this again on my request,” said Brecheisen, a member of the utility committee that makes recommendations to the council. “Looking over this again I saw that we’d put $50,000 into the reserve fund that I didn’t know about. If we’re able to maintain or put more in the reserve fund, why increase rates more at this time? It will cost another $2 a month for me and my wife, but others will be paying more. I voted not to raise it.”

Council Member Doyle Jardon, another member of the utility committee, voted to make the recommendation to the council.

“We did have quite the discussion on this issue,” said Jardon. “I hate to come to you guys and me and Ted not being on the same page. We face huge expenses when something goes wrong in the Baker Wetlands.

“Since this is just a pass-through from Lawrence, I feel better about passing it along to the ratepayers,” he said. “If we didn’t do this, it would make a change in the general fund. Not a big one. We’re not adding to the increase, we’re just passing it through.”

In past years, the council has tacked on increases to the annual jump Lawrence makes. The city is faced with a $1 million-plus project to take the water pipe out of the wetlands because it often leaks and causes expensive repairs.

Utility Director Bill Winegar told the council that he’s been watching to see what Lawrence will do about the wetlands situation.

“We’ve had a lot of plans to do something with the Baker Wetlands,” said Winegar. “Lawrence is talking about making some changes and we’ve been waiting to see what they’re going to do. We’ll be playing catch up sometime. I can’t tell you when these projects are going to start. We’ve kind of drug our feet with the bypass.”

Brecheisen again voiced his concerns, asking to delay the increase.

“Our biggest customers, Baker (University) and the school district, are facing budget cuts,” said Brecheisen. “They’re going to be paying a lot with this. I’d like to wait until spring and see how this has developed out. We could pass it then.”

Council President Amy Cleavinger, who was presiding over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Gary Walbridge, said waiting doesn’t make sense.

“Does it bother you that if we don’t pass it along now, we’ll have to in the future and hit them with a really big increase when we can’t continue to absorb it?” said Cleavinger.

Council Member Ken Wagner agreed.

“I’ve said before we’re really at the mercy of those folks in Lawrence,” said Wagner. “If we hold off on this pass through, we’ll be doing it later.”

Wagner also said that when the time comes for the Baker Wetlands work to be done, he’ll favor paying as much as possible from the reserve account. Brecheisen again voiced opposition.

“There comes a time when the city has to quit saving money for the consumer and let them decide,” said Brecheisen. “There are people out there struggling to pay their utility bills and this isn’t going to help.”

Residents will now pay $7.53 per 100cf, up from $7.20 per 100cf. The change will take effect with the January billing if the ordinance passes on second reading at the next council meeting. The ordinance also eliminates the different rate charged to out of city limit customers. In the past, they have paid 175 percent of the city rate.

In other action, the city also approved on first reading designating the area around the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce “Tom Swan Park.” The city bought the corner lot ahead of the Downtown Streetscape Project and the move is designed to keep the area a public place so nothing can be built there.

“I don’t see that happening; I see it staying the way it is,” said City Administrator Jeff Dingman. “It (ordinance designating the park) does help out the Lumberyard Arts Center Project. It assures them there won’t be a building built there.”

Comments

rateraiser 5 years, 11 months ago

"LAWRENCE CITY CODE"

WATER SERVICE CHARGES. Monthly charges for water service to water service customers, including residential units, institutions, business or industry served by a single water meter, except rural water districts and other municipalities, shall be in accordance with the following schedule: (A) The following water volume charges shall be as follows effective on and after November 15, 2008 as shown below: Customer Class Inside City Outside City Residential $3.18/1,000 gal $4.95/1,000 gal Multifamily $2.80/1,000 gal $4.79/1,000 gal Commercial $2.58/1,000 gal $3.78/1,000 gal Industrial $2.44/1,000 gal $3.40/1,000 gal Monthly charges for water service to rural water districts and other municipalities shall be at $3.25/1,000 gallon or at such rates as contracted by the City of Lawrence.

$3.18/1,000 gal equals $2.378/100 cubic foot $3.25/1,000 gal equals $2.43/100 cubic foot

Jeff,

Why don't we include this information in the article, so people can understand what is actually going on. Seems to me we've been "passing the rate on" a little much. Ohh yeah, but I forgot about all the operations and maintenance we have that cause our rates to be more than double of Lawrence's. Apparently our neighboring city's don't have to operate or maintain their systems, because they are able to charge more reasonable rates.

Thanks

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rateraiser 5 years, 11 months ago

an afterthought......

The City of Baldwin City knew that Lawrence was going to increase their rates by about 12% on or before last July. Last year (2007) the rate increase was brought to the public's attention around August of 2007, but this year they decide to bring it up in December.

cricket's chirping*BOND ISSUE***cricket's chirping

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Torch 5 years, 11 months ago

Hey! I've got a great idea! Let's pass a $23 million dollar bond issue!

Don't expect any mercy from Cleavinger - she led the parade telling people 'it's only $xxx' a year for our poor, poor, children. We're lucky she didn't triple the rate increase and say the same thing.

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beevo 5 years, 11 months ago

BALDWIN RANKS HIGH!!!!

Is the city of Baldwin City here to serve the residents or are the residents here to serve the city? Is Baldwin City included in the world economy or is it so far removed that the rules don’t apply here? In looking at the record one would think Baldwin is a world apart when looking at the finances and financial decisions made of this small Kansas town. Taxes: Source: The Lawrence Journal World; Friday, November 28, 2008; & Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Baldwin City 2008 property tax rates compared with the other cities and townships in Douglas County, Kansas: Baldwin City current mill levy is 31.407; Lawrence 26.647 mills; Eudora, 26.625; and Lecompton, 18.294.Township mill levies are Marion, 24.226; Lecompton, 20.720; Eudora, 20.125; Kanwaka, 20.024; Wakarusa, 17.7; Willow Springs, 16.937; Grant, 14.298; Palmyra, 12.978 and Clinton, 10.877

The total mill levies 2008 — city, county, school district, state and anything else — that is charged in Baldwin City and the other cities in Douglas County, Kansas: The current total mill levy in Baldwin City is 127.827 not including the new mill levy for the $22.9 million school bond. The current total mill levy in Lawrence ranges from 118.366 mills to 120.391 mills, depending on where you live. Eudora, it is 130.102 mills; and for Lecompton, it is 114.841 mills.

Water Cost Source: Blog by brandon; The Baldwin City Signal; August 15, 2008

  1. Baldwin purchases water from Lawrence, which charges $2.80/1,000 gallons.
  2. Lawrence residents pay $2.92/1,000 gallons or .00292/gallon. I believe the base is $2.65
  3. Baldwin residents pay $9.621/1,000 gallons or .00962/gallon. With a base fee of $6.50.

Wellsville gets their water from us (Baldwin City), or essentially Lawrence.-by code Baldwin charges Wellsville $2.80/1,000 gallons for water, the same price Lawrence charges us. Wellsville residents pay $4.88/1,000 gallons or .00488/gallon. With a base fee of $6.42.

My water bill in Baldwin City was $136.82 with a consumption of 1810 cubic feet My water bill in Lawrence would be $42.18 If I lived in Wellsville it would have been $60.57.

I know Baldwin City charges by the cubic foot I converted it to gallons so it could be compared to Wellsville and Lawrence. 1 cubic foot=7.48 gallons. I haven't live in Baldwin very long so maybe someone could explain the unreasonable price we pay for water. Will I live to be 1,000 years old if I keep drinking it?

Other Expences and Utility Costs Lets not even bring them up at the current time! This is a damn expensive town & Baldwin City doesn’t seem to care! Do You?

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123456 5 years, 11 months ago

The city claims that they don;t have any money in the budget but they just bought a new pickup. If they had someone in maintance that knew what they were doing and would work then they could put all of the vehicles on a regular maintaince program and they wouldlast longer. By the way winter is about here,is all of the equipment ready to go?

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