Jasper residents will likely be seeing an increase in their wastewater bills in the near future.
Last night, the Jasper Utility Service Board approved a 13.8% rate increase for city wastewater. That amounts to roughly 5 dollars a month for the average family.
Now the rate increase is the result of a study done by Umbaugh and Associates. That study recommended a more than 16% increase, but the board voted on the lesser increase of 13.8%.
Utilities general manager Bud Hauersperger says Jasper’s wastewater rates will still be the lowest in the area even if the rate increase takes effect. Hauersperger says roughly half of the rate increase is due to an unfunded government mandate to get phosphorous levels in the city’s wastewater plant down to new EPA standards.
Hauersperger says its still too early to determine how the city will get that project done:
Of course, the town of Ferdinand is also working on its own phosphorous reduction project as mandated by the EPA.
The rate increase will be considered at the Jasper City Council’s monthly meeting coming up tomorrow night. If approved by the council, the rate increase would take effect on April 2015 utility bills.
Also last night, Hauersperger told the board that there were no viable expressions of interest received for the former Jasper Power Plant site. The deadline for those expressions was December 1st.
Hauersperger says the only interest came from salvage companies that might save parts of the building or equipment in the building. He says the city has already moved on to the next steps:
On a related note, city officials can now move forward with taking care of legal costs related to the biomass litigation surrounding the power plant. The State Board of Accounts has instructed the city to move the nearly $860,000 in legal fees through the expense cycle. That money will come out of the Operations and Maintenence Reserve Fund.
On a final note, last night’s meeting was the final one for electric commissioner Ken Sendelweck. Sendelweck is retiring after 17 years on the job.
Sendelweck was originally appointed to his job by former mayor Bill Schmitt. He received a plaque honoring his service from current mayor Terry Seitz.
Roger Seng was appointed by Seitz as the next electric commissioner. The board approved Seng’s appointment.