Higher city water, sewer rates start in May

Thursday, April 22, 2021

McCOOK, Neb. — Increased water and sewer rates for McCook users will start in May.

The McCook City Council unanimously approved the higher rates at the third and final reading of the ordinances Monday night.

Water rates will increase by 2.5%. The increase should meet the 2020-21 budgeted expenditures in the water department at $2.2 million to $2.4 million, according to the city manager’s report. The ready-to-serve fee will increase by 46 cents from $18.36 to $18.82 per month. The price per 100 cubic feet (748) gallons) will also increase, with the first 5,000 cubic feet increasing by 4.7 cents.

Sewer rates will increase by 3%, estimated to garner about $30,300 for the sewer fund. The base fee for residential customers will go from $16.53 to $17.03, a 50 cent increase. The commercial base fee will increase by 72 cents.

The increase in sewer also includes a $35 per load fee to unload sewage haulers after-hours and on weekends at the wastewater treatment plant and a $100 increase (from $50 to $150) for a connection fee to cover the costs of labor and equipment.

Both the water and sewer departments are enterprise funds and operate on fees and rates.

City utility director Jesse Dutcher told the council Monday night that if customers reduced their 60-minute automated lawn irrigation system by two minutes, their water bill should stay the same.

Reducing 45-minute irrigation by five minutes would also reduce the increase. Water rate increases do two things, Dutcher said, generate revenue and conserve water.

Three councilmen commented at the end of Monday’s meeting during “Council Comments”:

-- Councilman Gene Weedin reminded the public that the Choice Gas program ends on Thursday and encouraged citizens to consider choosing ACE, as its rebate program gives back to the community;

-- Councilman Darcy Rambali cited city workers who do street repair on the streets. He recently observed city workers fixing a pothole and commended them for “doing their job and doing it well.”

-- Mayor Mike Gonzales commented that it was a productive meeting and the council got a lot done. “It’s exciting….we’ve made some changes and we’ll keep moving forward,” he said.

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