The budget included 2-3 percent rate increases for sewer, water and trash service.
The Boonville City Council approved 8-0 the city budget for 2019-2020, which includes 2-3 percent increases in service fees for water, sewer and trash pickup.
Each of those services has a separate fund in the city budget, and they are mainly funded by user fees. The city council typically has to raise fees to keep up with rising employee costs every year, including health insurance and retirement funds for city employees.
One factor that pushes on the annual budget each year are the services the city has contracted out: trash collection and management of the water treatment plant. Both of those contracts include cost of living adjustments for the contracted workers that the city has to keep up with every year.
The city is also chasing changing federal and state regulations, which often come with expensive mandates and no money to pay for them. The city has come up with a management plan with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to spread out the costs its regulations have put on the city, but the city still has to pay, Assistant City Administrator Kate Fjell previously told the Daily News.
Ward Three Councilman Brent Bozarth said before the council voted on the budget that he took exception to the headline in the March 15 edition of the Boonville Daily News: “Another year, another rate increase for Boonville services.”
“I think a much better headline would be, ‘The city works hard to hold down service costs,’” he said.
Costs are increasing in health insurance, retirement, chemicals and other places in the service funds, and trash and water treatment are contracted out, Bozarth noted. The 2.8 percent increase in water rates amounts to a $2.31 increase in a ratepayer’s bill who uses between 1,000 and 4,000 gallons of water a month, he said.
“I just want to point that out that they do a lot of work on this, and a headline like that I just don’t appreciate,” Bozarth said.
After the vote, Ward Four Councilman Morris Carter said he appreciated the work City Administrator Irl Tessendorf and the city staff did to hold down costs as much as they could.