VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Shelbyville residents will see their water rates increase this spring as a result of the adoption of an ordinance passed Monday night by the City Council.
The increase rate passed was recommended by the engineering firm of Bainbridge, Gee, Milanski & Associates of Decature and tailored to meet the expenses for water tower maintenance contract also passed Monday evening.
“This is the only way to generate money for maintenance on the infrastructure of the towers,” Commissioner Bill Shoaff said.
The city has five steel tanks which have rust damage and four of the five still have lead-based paint, which needs to be removed. The maintenance contract will provide routine and incidental service to the city’s tanks over a 15-year period.
The ordinance raised the usage rates for city residents to $5.53 per 1,000 gallons for the first 2,000 gallons - an increase of $1.68 over the current rate. The rate per 1,000 gallons drops through a series of five tiers after the first 2,000 gallons.
For area residents rates will increase to $14.30 for first 2,000 gallons and $6.30 per 1,000 gallons after.
Shoaff noted that for a 5,000 gallon city user would pay $25.94 under the new rate - an increase of $7.89. Area residents would pay $33.20 for 5,000 gallons - an increase of $6.25
“It is cheaper to do it this way and spread the cost over a period of year,” Shoaff said.
“This helps our budget. To do this (maintenance contract), we’ve got to raise our rates,” he said.
Steve Bainbridge added that the rates are based on water usage over a couple of years.
Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who later voted no on the ordinance, asked if there was any money allocated to maintenance at the present time.
“Only for lines and insurance and bonds,” Shoaff answered.
“Rates should have been raised over a period of years,” Shoaff added. “We do have low water rates. We’ve just got to do it.”
“We just don’t have the money to offset it (tank maintenance). The only way is to pay as we go. A new tower costs between $3 and $4 million,” Shoaff continued. “The maintenance agreement is a fixed amount that we can pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly as we want.”
The rates would be effective March 1 for city residents and August 1 for area users.
The council also unanimously approved the fixed rate 15-year maintenance contract with Utility Service Company, Inc. for the water towers at a cost of $212,294 per year.
In other business Shoaff reported that the new roof on the water treatment plant has been installed.
“There were some soft spots in the old roof,” he noted.
Commissioner Brent Fogleman reported that the Fraternal Order of Police has asked for a date to begin negotiations. Their present contract ends April 30.