After a public hearing on Sept. 16, the Glasgow City Council proceeded with its proposed water rate increase of $5 per month, effective in November, with another $5 increase planned in six months.
Two residents questioned the reasons for the rate increase, and called it a sudden move, especially for people on a fixed income. Council members said the rate has not been raised since 1999 and costs have gone up. Also, the water rate has to meet a minimum to be high enough to cover costs or else the city cannot qualify for state loans for major improvements when they are needed. State water experts recommend a review and an increase every two to three years.
The city was not at the target water price when the sewer rates were increased, but they delayed raising the water rates so people wouldn’t be hit with two raises at once.
The new customer service charge is $20 per month. In addition, a usage charge of $1.78 per 1,000 gallons will be assessed. The water bill used to include 1,000 gallons of water in the base rate but it can’t be done that way now, said Mayor Dan Carney.
The second reading of this ordinance will be Oct. 7. If passed, it will become effective 30 days later.
In another water matter, a public hearing was held on the bulk wholesale of water to the Dry Prairie Rural Water authority. The water will serve some customers southwest of Glasgow for a few years until Dry Prairie’s rural pipelines are completed.
The city will benefit from this arrangement, according to Carney. Dry Prairie is paying for the connecting pipeline but when it is finished, it will belong to the city. If the city ever needs water from Dry Prairie in the future, the backup pipeline will be there.
The sale of the water pays for itself and is a source of income for the city. The 75,000 gallons per day is a drop in the bucket for the city’s water plant, according to the city’s director of public works, Bob Kompel.
A branch pipeline easement and a temporary construction easement were granted to Dry Prairie.
Kompel has been working with BNSF engineers to make sure the new sidings being constructed east of town are not impinging on the city’s water line from Fort Peck Lake. The BN engineers are very aware of the pipe’s location. Kompel said the site is sometimes tight, but the construction does not endanger the water line.
Glasgow Fire Chief Brandon Brunelle has been researching the financing of a new ladder truck. Banks have not wanted to give a 30-year loan. The Council transferred more than $85,000 from the general obligation debt fund into the capital projects fund, but a truck costs much more.
“We have to keep forging ahead and try to put money away,” Brunelle said.
Police Chief Bruce Barstad said he has ordered a date-feedback sign to control speeding. If it works to slow traffic down, he will order a couple more.
Replacement of water mains in Northern Heights is underway, according to Matt Ulberg of DJ&A Engineers. The contractor hopes to finish in October. The $800,000 project is on budget.
Bart Jensen, the new owner of the Star Lodge Motel, was appointed to the board of trustees of the Glasgow Tourism Business Improvement District. Betty Stone and Jerry Koski were reappointed to this board.
The city will pay annual Two Rivers Economic Development dues of $550.