City faces decisions over sewer funding
Tonganoxie City Council members on Monday said they were torn between raising monthly sewer fees and increasing what the city charges for connections to the sewer system.
One thing is clear, they said. The city must find the money to pay for nearly $2 million in work at the city's sewage treatment plant.
The city plans to fund the work through a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant and through a $1,575,000 loan from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
On Monday, council members looked at a proposal that would increase residential sewer rates by an average of $1 a month in each of the next three years. Other fee increases also were included over the next 20 years.
That same proposal would increase the existing sewer connection fee of $1,000. In the first year, the fee would increase to $1,750, then $2,000 in the second year and level out at $2,250 the following year.
"I think it's important before we enter into this agreement that we understand how we're going to pay it back," Mayor John Franiuk said.
But several council members said they didn't want to raise the connection fees quite so high so quickly. But that would mean that monthly sewer rates would have to increase at a higher rate.
Council members asked that David Hamby, of the city's engineering firm, devise several combinations of higher rates and fees for them to consider.
The council, faced with a May 6 deadline to sign the loan agreement, will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. next Monday to further discuss the sewer rate issue.
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