If approved by the Boonville City Council on Monday, the rate increases for water, sewer and trash will go up between 2 and 3 percent this year to keep up with costs.

With the city looking at increased costs and major projects, the Boonville City Council will decide Monday night whether to increase water, sewer and trash rates again.

The city raises rates every year, with the approval of the council, to keep up with increasing employee healthcare and retirement costs. The city also contracts trash collection and management of the water treatment plant, which includes the cost of living adjustments that go up every year, Assistant City Administrator Kate Fjell said.

The city is also constantly chasing new regulations, especially from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The city has a management plan agreement with DNR to help it spread some of those costs, but there are changes that have to be made, and the city has to pay for them, Fjell said.

“If DNR requires us to buy new equipment, we can’t say, ‘Sorry DNR,’” she said.

The rate increases this year are about 2.8 percent for water, 2 percent for wastewater and 3 percent for solid waste collection. That’s about consistent with previous years, and a lot lower than the 8 and 9 percent hikes the city needed in the past, she said.

Water rates up about 2.8 percent

Water customers who use between 1,000 gallons and 50,000 gallons of water a month will see a 2.83 percent increase in their monthly bills. Customers who use more than 50,000 gallons a month will receive a slightly larger hike, at 2.89 percent.

Water rates up about 2.8 percent
 

0-1,000 gallons

1,001-10,000 gallons

10,001-50,000 gallons

Over 50,000 gallons

Old rate per 1,000 gallons

Minimum charge

$6.35

$4.95

$4.50

New rate

Minimum

$6.53

$5.09

$4.63

Those who use less than 1,000 gallons a month will see a 2.8 percent increase, as the minimum monthly charges for water will go up 2.8 percent for each meter size.

Minimum water charges up 2.8 percent

Meter size (inches)

Old minimum

New minimum

⅝ and ¾

$23.00

$23.64

1

$39.00

$40.09

1.5

$66.00

$67.85

2

$99.00

$101.77

3

$175.00

$179.90

4

$284.00

$291.95

6

$556.00

$571.57

Water fees make up most of the city’s water works funds. Debt service on water bonds is a major cost for the fund, and the city plans to spend $591,300 for service on the 2013 water bond, about the same as prior years.

The city expects water works costs to be up this year, with a 2 percent increase budgeted for personell costs. There is also a 2 percent cost of living adjustment in the contract with Alliance Water to operate the water treatment plant, bringing the cost for those services up to $837,400, City Administrator Irl Tessendorf said at a Feb. 4 council meeting.

The city also expects capital project costs to go up from $143,100 to $275,250, led by the rollout of automated meter reading equipment and routine maintenance to the Missouri River pumps. It also includes money to replace 90s-era trucks public works has been using, including a sewer jetter/vacuum truck the council agreed to purchase in February.

Wastewater rates up 2 percent

Under the council proposal, wastewater rates would go up about 2 percent across the board.

For wastewater, you pay a monthly rate based on the monthly average gallons of water you used from October through March. You pay per 1,000 gallons of metered water, and there is a minimum monthly charge of $27.50. Over 99 percent of the city’s wastewater fund comes from these fees.

Every wastewater customer currently pays a fixed charge of $20, plus $7.50 for every 1,000 gallons of water used. The council proposal would change that to a fixed charge of $20.40 plus $7.65 for every 1,000 gallons, with a minimum charge of $28.05 every month.

Wastewater rates up about 2 percent
 

OLD

NEW

Base charge

$20.00

$20.40

Rate per 1,000 gallons

$7.50

$7.65

Minimum charge

$27.50

$28.05

Maintenance costs for the city’s sewer lift stations, which move sewage from lower pipes to higher ones, increased significantly from $53,325 in 2017-2018 to more than $130,000 last year. The city budgeted $135,000 for lift station maintenance in 2019-2020.

The city is also budgeting a significant increase in the wastewater capital projects fund, from $426,000 last year to $822,650. Most of that has been shifted over from the wastewater debt service fund. In January, the city paid off the $5.7 million wastewater bond voters approved in 1996, freeing up about $300,000 in wastewater funds.

Those funds are included in the capital project fund for next year, but Tessendorf said the city should try to save as much as possible for looming capital project costs, including a discharge line going to the Missouri River.

Gambling revenues used to pay for most of the city’s capital projects, but those revenues have been declining in recent years. They decreased $141,700 last year, and will drop more than $100,000 this year. That could be $400,000 less than 2014-2015, a drop of about 11 percent. Having more money in the wastewater capital projects fund means it can support its own capital improvements, instead of having to rely on the Isle of Capri Casino Boonville.

The city wants to increase other funding sources, because it doesn’t know where the bottom is on sliding gambling receipts, Fjell said. If changing regulations or a growing population require the city to take on a major project, the city is going to need some money in reserve to start paying for that, she said.

The 2 percent rate hike was significantly less than what the city has had to do in previous years, Tessendorf said at the Feb. 4 meeting.

“That’s as good as it’s going to get, it’s not gonna be zero,” he told the council

Solid waste collection fee up 3 percent

The solid waste service fee for most residential customers will increase fifty cents to $17.50 a month. Other customers, including multi-family residences and commercial users receiving hand pickups or container service, will also see a rate increase around 3 percent.

Commercial with hand pickups
 

OLD

NEW

Once/week

21.56

$22.21

Twice/week

39.79

$40.99

Three/week

55.98

$57.67

Four/week

73.36

$75.57

Five/week

90.8

$93.53

Residential with hand pickups

 

OLD

NEW

Once/week

$17.00

$17.50

Twice/week

$23.60

$24.29

Three/week

32.83

$33.79

Four/week

42.05

$43.28

Five/week

51.31

$52.79

The fees make up 98 percent of the city’s solid waste fund. The city used to have to bail out that fund every year, taking as much as $50,000 from the general fund, Tessendorf said at a Jan. 22 council meeting. After working on the fund for years, it’s now self sustaining.

The city’s contract with Advanced Disposal for trash pickup makes up about 80 percent of the solid waste budget. That contract has a built-in adjustment tied to the price of consumer goods. It will go up 1.6 percent this year, from $485,000 to $520,000, Tessendorf said. With increased costs on smaller items across the board, the solid waste fund is budgeted for an overall 8.4 percent increase in costs, which the city can cover with the 3 percent rate hike.