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City Council agrees to water rate increase

Staff writer

Hillsboro City Administrator Larry Payne met with Peabody City Council members Monday evening to discuss an increase in the amount Peabody pays Hillsboro for its water.

The original contract between the two communities was created in 1999 and Peabody was charged $1.40 per thousand gallons by Hillsboro to treat and transport water to Peabody. The contract also allowed for a review of the payment every two years, with an adjustment if necessary.

In 2005, the cost rose to $1.48 per thousand gallons and has remained there.

Hillsboro is requesting another increase, raising the cost to $1.85 per thousand gallons.

An increase can only take place if the cost of producing water for Peabody increases. Infrastructure upgrades or additions to the water plant itself are not a reason to increase the charges on Peabody’s water.

Payne provided information on costs since 2008 and justification information about Hillsboro’s need to increase the price.

While not enthusiastic about an increase in water costs, council members agreed the amount was justified.

“There is no intent on our part not to partner with Hillsboro on this,” said council member Tom Schmidt. “We appreciate the relationship; we need it.”

Schmidt did ask that Payne let the Peabody budget committee know by June 1 every year if an increase was going to be on the table.

“We need to know going into our budget planning if there is going to be an increase for that year,” he said.

Payne agreed to make that proposal to the Hillsboro City Council, saying he did not think it would be a problem.

The communities will sign a new contract for water charges after Hillsboro City Council has a chance to approve it.

In other business:

  • Police chief Bruce Burke requested authorization from the council to purchase an AR-15 assault rifle, ammunition, and case, and breaching tools used to gain entry into secured property. The total cost of the equipment is $1,466. Burke said money for purchases had been budgeted for 2014. After discussion, council voted 3-2 to allow the purchase with Janice Woodruff and Pam Lamborn opposed.
  • Ordinance 02-2014 to amend the official zoning map of the city and make the parcel of land known as 311 N. Pine St. an R-3 property and allow a mobile home to be placed there was approved for publication after Mayor Larry Larsen broke a tie vote with a vote in favor of the ordinance. Council members Woodruff and Tim Peterson voted to approve publication of the change, Tom Schmidt and Steve Rose voted against it, and Lamborn abstained. Had the vote gone against publication, the zoning change would not have been valid and the mobile home would not have been allowed.
  • Jim Philpott and his son Clayton presented a request for a cadet program through the Peabody Fire Department. Information packets were given to council members. Cadet candidates must fill out an application, maintain good grades in school, undergo a review of their behavior, and be 14 or older. The council agreed to consider the request after city administrator Mac Manning gets approval from the city’s worker compensation insurance and the city attorney.
  • Manning told council members he had attended the March meeting of Peabody-Burns Recreation Commission and presented a request for financial assistance to the cost of the fiberglass liner repair at the swimming pool. Manning said the group was receptive to the request, but would make a final determination at its April meeting.
  • Interim public works director Ronnie Harms presented another bid for a swimming pool cover. Swim Time would provide the cover for $7,761. In a related issue, Harms told the council that W.J. Germaine will not be available to replace the pool liner until after the swimming season ends in August or before the 2015 season begins next spring. Germaine’s schedule is full between now and the pool opening in May.
  • Harms told the council he would begin work on the pool restrooms during April as soon as the temperatures stayed above freezing during the night. He also will open the wells used by the city and Partners of Peabody Parks for watering trees and flowerbeds.
  • The council approved the purchase of a reconditioned copier and service agreement from Bizhub for $3,000.

The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 10 in the city building.

Last modified April 3, 2014

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