McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council will consider authorizing a 3.5 percent water rate increase in addition to a 3.5 percent sewer rate increase Monday evening. If approved residential rates are anticipated to increase on average by $10 annually for sewer and $16 annually for water.
The proposed water rate increase follows a summer that Utility Director Jesse Dutcher described, during a Aug. 6 meeting, as having two consecutive months of selling more water than the city has ever sold. Dutcher said he projected the water sales to result in revenue of approximately $200,000 more then what was budgeted and said it should help reduce the 2012-13 rate increase request.
The prior year's budget was approved with a 3 percent water rate increase and a 5 percent sewer rate increase, which was predicted to result an average of $14 annually on residential sewer bills and an average of $13 annually on residential water bills.
Monday's meeting, 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium, will include a review of the annual cashflow analysis for the water and sewer utility funds. The report was prepared by Public Financial Management, who will have a representative available via phone conference to discuss the report.
The proposed water rate increase is anticipated to result in a revenue increase of $56,111 for the city. According to the meeting agenda modeling indicates that failing to increase that rate would result in a need for a 5 percent increase next year, similarly no information was available pertaining to a future rate increase if the 3.5 percent is approved.
The proposed sewer rate increase in anticipated to result in a revenue increase of $48,996 for the city. According to the meeting agenda modeling indicates that failing to increase the rate would result in a need for a 6 percent increase next year, however no information was available pertaining to a future rate increase if the 3.5 percent is approved.
During the meeting the City Sign Committee will present councilors with information for a proposed McCook city entrance sign. The proposed budget has $25,000 budgeted for the project.
The 2012-13 city budget will be presented for its second of three required readings. The budget is proposed to be modified from its first reading to reflect a $75,000 reduction in revenues, stemming from councilors backing down the original proposed 6 percent mobile phone occupation tax to 1.5 percent and reducing the existing 3 percent land-line occupation tax from 3 percent to 1.5 percent. The General Fund ending balance is also proposed to be reduced by $3,500 to fund city wildlife services that Red Willow County Commissioners voted to discontinue recently.
City staff has also requested a 1 percent increase to the Unused Restricted Funds Authority.
Councilors will coordinate a public hearing to discuss a request from a potential buyer of the school bus barn property to rezone the property from residential medium to business commercial. The McCook Planning Commission has recommended approval of the request, with the addition of a fence between proposed buildings on the east side.
The McCook School District entered into a contract with HCC Leasing pertaining to the purchase of the property, contingent upon the city allowing the buyers to use and build storage units at the location.
The school bus barn property is located on the northeast corner of Q Street and West Eighth Street. The school district has indicated it intends to move the operations there to the recently purchased National Guard Armory building adjacent to McCook High School.
HCC Leasing intends to leave the north 100 feet of the bus barn property for residential lots and build storage units on the southern portion of the property.
Following the public hearing councilors will consider an ordinance approving the rezone request and authorization for a Planned Development District for the property. City staff has asked for the three-reading rule to be suspended for the ordinance, no explanation for the request is included in the meeting agenda.
__ Other items on the consent and regular agenda: ----
* The 2012-13 Fiscal Year Employee Classification Pay Plan will be considered upon its second of three required readings. The pay plan includes a 2.5 percent city-wide wage increase, which equates to a $80,357 annual increase, combined with $80,520 in merit increases and additional longevity increases.
* An amendment to a 2009 agricultural farm lease between the city and the Meyers Brothers, for airport land, will be considered for a three-year extension through 2015. According to the meeting agenda the Meyers Brothers have been good stewards of the airport farm ground and are agreeable to an extension under the same terms. City staff determined through a review of state and city laws that leases such as this one were not required to be bid out, however the city would like to begin bidding them out in the future in an effort to ensure the best return possible.
* The United Way has requested to use city streets for their 12th annual United Way Fun Run and 5L race on Sept. 29, 2012.
* Rock N Horse Lounge has requested a special liquor license for a beer garden at the Farm & Ranch Expo at Kiplinger Arena in November.
* MO Dough LLC has requested a special liquor license for receptions at the Keystone Business Center in September and October.