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City to pass on water costs

Staff writer

Peabody City Council approved a small increase for city water customers and changed the city’s policy of collecting a deposit for water service at the meeting Monday night.

The city now charges water customers a deposit when they sign up for service. The deposit is refunded to the customer after certain criteria are met.

In the future, the city clerk will collect a non-refundable fee of $50 from each person requesting water service. The full amount will have to be paid before a service connection is made and the customer may not have an unpaid balance on any prior or existing service at another location.

Another change for water customers will be a rate increase from $2.75 to $3 a month for 100 cubic feet of water for customers in the city limits. The minimum monthly charge will remain at $25. For customers outside the city limits the monthly charge will remain at $30, but the rate for 100 cubic feet of water will increase from $3 to $3.25.

“This is something we didn’t want to have to do,” council member Janice Woodruff said. “But the state has increased the charge for raw water almost every year since 2001 and the city has absorbed the cost. Now that it has reached 25 cents, it is affecting our ability to meet our responsibility to the state. We are finally at the point where we need to pass along the increase to the customer.”

City Administrator Mac Manning said the increases will begin with the March 1 billing.

In other business:

  • The council approved a resolution to raise the charges on several services provided by the city office. The charge for black and white photocopies will increase to 15 cents per sheet and color photocopies to 35 cents per sheet. The charge for return fax copies will increase to $.15 per sheet. The city also will begin charging $.50 for notary service.
  • A resolution to amend personnel policies for employees’ sick leave, personal time off, vacation pay, and overtime and stand-by compensation was tabled to give council members additional time to review the recommendations.
  • Police Chief Bruce Burke requested permission to send Peabody Court Clerk Jan O’Neil to Topeka in March for training. The council approved the request.
  • The council also agreed to pay the $170 enrollment fee for Darren Pickens and Ronnie Harms to attend the Kansas Water Conference in Wichita in March.
  • Peabody Main Street received permission to auction off the naming rights to the sports complex and the circle drive at Peabody City Park as part of the Main Street benefit auction.
  • The council approved a $100 donation to Peabody Safe Kids Camp to be hosted by Peabody emergency services at Peabody-Burns Elementary School in the spring.
  • Manning passed out a list of locations of streetlights on alleys the city would like to remove for a savings of about $2,000 a year. He told the council the list would be published in the city newsletter that accompanies the water bills so that residents could review the list before the streetlights are removed.
  • Public Works Director Darren Pickens told the council they need to be looking at replacing the 1967 dump truck, several water fountains at City Park, and the computer for the public works office. No decision was made on his requests, although the park committee will look at the drinking fountain issue.
  • Pickens also showed the council a map of the city water lines created a few years ago by Kansas Rural Water. In order for Peabody employees to update the map when they make changes or repairs, the city now needs to purchase a GPS system. Kansas Rural Water will no longer keep track of changes to the map. The complete unit with software costs $18,000; the GPS unit alone is $7,000. The council did not approve the expenditure.

The next Peabody City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 in the city building.

Last modified Feb. 2, 2012

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