Riverside approves rate increases
RIVERSIDE—The city council held the public hearings for the proposed sewer and water increases Monday night and heard from a United Methodist Church Board of Trustees member about the storm water issues they are having on the property of the church.
At 6:45 p.m. Mayor Bill Poch opened the public hearing about the water rate increases. Poch asked City Administrator Rusty Rogerson if any written comment had come to city hall about the rate increases. Rogerson said no. Poch then closed the public hearing.
Councilor Bob Schneider Jr. said he was concerned about the rate increases. He said the city council hired a consultant to do a study on what the rate increase should be to help keep the city out of a deficit. The consultant suggested increasing the water rate by $5, but instead the ordinance was for only a $2 increase.
Rogerson said this fiscal year wouldn’t be affected by the ordinance changes. He also told Schneider that part of the problem is that water usage is down in the city and the prices of chemicals have increased.
“How many years do we live on the reserves before it’s gone?” Schneider asked.
Rogerson said three to four years.
The first hearing—for raising the water rates to $11 per month per month, plus $5 for 1,000 gallons of water used each month except for usage equal to or exceeding 100,000 gallons per month, which shall have a rate of $7 per 1,000 gallons of water used—was approved unanimously.
The council also approved raising the sewer rates the same amount unanimously.
George Gerot, from the United Methodist Church in Riverside, informed the council there is a problem with the stormwater runoff from Third Street. The west wall of the church is getting damaged and the church is looking into hiring an engineer to look at the issues with stormwater run off on the property.
Councilor Ralph Schnoebelen said the city should proactively hire an engineer to go look at this issue.
A motion was made for the council to hire an engineer to look and was approved unanimously.
The city council also discussed whether or not a civil lawsuit should be filed to recoup the money the investigative audit found to have been improperly disbursed. Rogerson told the council they couldn’t file criminal charges because that was up to Washington County Attorney Larry Brock.
Poch and Schnoebelen asked why Brock hasn’t filed charges yet.
“I don’t know,” Rogerson said. “He’s had that information since December.”
Schnoebelen asked for a work session to be held with the city attorney before the next city council meeting to hear what the recommendations are and for the item to be placed on the agenda.
Other items covered at the city council meeting included:
• listing the three remaining lots the city owns with Terrus Realty for 90 days;
• approving a motion allowing any agenda item request by city councilors to be reviewed by the mayor or city administrator or have the council vote on the whether the agenda item should be placed on the agenda. Councilors Nate Kasdorf and Chris Kirkwood voted no;
•and approved the budget amendment allowing $82,000 to be moved to the general government account, which covers the remainder of the home beautification grants and lift station repairs, $14,000 in the public works fund for chemical costs, and $1,000 to be taken out of the license and permits fund, Rogerson said.
The next city council meeting will be held Monday, June 2, at 6:30 p.m.