Archived Story

Sewer rates to increase slightly due to improvement costs

Published 9:05am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Customers of the Niles Wastewater Treatment Plant can expect to see at small increase in their sewer rates as the city upgrades its sanitary sewer collection system over the next five years.

Jeff Brown, of the engineering firm FTC&H, told the Niles City Council Monday that rates would need to increase about 1 percent to pay for the estimated $600,000 project.

A $300,000 grant was used to pay for the engineering firm’s assessment of the city’s water collection system and its recommendations for improvements.

According to Brown, an average utility customer would see their monthly sewer bill rise from $23.21 to $23.44. That’s a 23-cent a month rate increase.

Jeff Dunlap, the city’s utilities manager, said the city is doing its own rate study right now. The city council must approve rate increases.

“I expect to have a rate consultant’s recommendations to the council by this fall,” Dunlap said.

The sewer upgrade, which will include fixing line breaks in the sewer, will take place in stages over a period of five years

beginning in the summer of 2015.

The city council approved the project plan by a 7-0 vote Monday with David Mann absent.

Also Monday:

• The council approved a $20 per parcel assessment for the operation of the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service. Councilman Scott Clark said the city should consider upping the assessment to $30 per parcel as the rate has not changed in 26 years. SMCAS Executive Director Tim Gray said service calls for 2013 increased 15.2 percent from 2012.

• Approved a request from Niles Grace Brethren Church to use Riverfront Park Amphitheater from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. July 4.

• Approved a request from the EAA Chapter 865 to conduct the 28th annual fly-in breakfast at Jerry Tyler Memorial Airport June 22.

• Approved a request from the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce to hold its annual fireworks show beginning at 9 p.m. July 3.

• Approved the police department’s request to purchase a 2014 Tahoe special services vehicle from Berger Chevrolet, of Grand Rapids, for $31,989.

 

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