By Anne Thom—
Doug Green and Patty Kettles of Springsted, Stacy’s financial services advisors, attended the council meeting March 13 to answer questions regarding a review of water/sewer rates.
The council wants some help in preparing information that can be given to the residents that explains water/sewer rates in plain English. Councilor Jim Ness asked for a tool that the city council and staff can use and maintain themselves.
Green said, “We do provide that. We provide a very user friendly Excel model.” The model is updated every five years.
Kettles said she understood the city is looking for explanation of where the figures originated in the first place. Kettles asked to review the figures the city is holding. A rate study will cost $3,000.
“Is this study going to be correct for any of our grants,” Councilor Jim Ness asked, referring to applications the city will be making to correct the issue of radium in the water supply. Schwartz said they need a baseline of use and costs to monthly user. He proposed water rate analysis first and then sewer. “At the very least it would provide the data to back the council decisions. We have no idea where the numbers came from,” Ness said. He made a motion to authorize the rate study and this was approved by the council.
No break for developer
A developer has shown interest in purchasing the vacant lots in the Foxtail Woods development. The developer asked for a break in the cost of doing business, claiming Stacy’s water availability charge (WAC) and sewer availability charge (SAC) are too high. WAC is $2,060 and the SAC is $4,120.
City Clerk Sharon Payne surveyed surrounding cities and found Stacy’s fees are comparable. The WAC is lower than other municipalities in Payne’s survey and SAC is in the middle.
“If the council is to change these fees it would take an ordinance change,” Payne said. Fees may be changed annually.
Payne warned that if the council lowers WAC and SAC fees for developers and residents are paying much more, this would not be popular. The councilors were not interested in lowering the WAC and SAC fees.