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Hillsboro water rates to rise

Staff writer

The average Hillsboro household will see its water rates rise $2.50 to $5.50 a month after city council members raised water rates Tuesday.

Rates for basic service will remain the same but the rate for each 1,000 gallons of water will go up $1.18.

“We have a flat-rate system right now, there’s no difference between commercial and residential,” city administrator Matt Stiles told council members.

Hillsboro will now charge $29 a month and $6.05 per 1,000 gallons, Stiles said.

Hillsboro’s increase is in reaction to a rate increase earlier handed down by the state and increases in the amount of money the city spends to remove excess iron and manganese that are used to treat blue-green algae in Marion Reservoir.

The average residence uses 2,200 gallons a month, Stiles said. That would equal $47.14 a month.

In Marion, which increased water rates starting in January to pay for $2.9 million owed for water system improvements, a residence with the same water use would pay $40.10.

“I hate to do this, especially right now, but it’s really out of our control,” mayor Lou Thurston said.

Council members also increased the price of water the city sells to Peabody. Peabody has its own water contract with the state for 50 million gallons a year. Hillsboro’s charge for purifying that water is on top of that.

Peabody’s new rate is $2.68 per 1,000 gallons for up to 50 million gallons. Any water above 50 million gallons will be charged at $3.13 per 1,000 gallons.

City council members discussed an $18,000 one-year contract with OurTown Development Initiatives but set a later date for more discussion before a decision will be made.

If the contract is approved at a special meeting Dec. 28, OurTown will provide 10 hours a month consultation services on issues such as housing, reuse of the old hospital, and use of the old AMPI building.

Council member Brent Driggers said he doesn’t see anything in the proposed contract about what would happen if the city uses less than 10 hours a month.

Richard Oster, one of the partners of OurTown, said the company was flexible about using less hours in one month and more hours in another month.

“I personally think we’re going to start off not having any trouble, and then we’ll go back and re-evaluate it later,” Thurston said.

Former Marion County jailer Peyton Heidebrecht, originally from Marion, will start working for Hillsboro police department next week.

Heidebrecht now works for Rose Hill police department.

Stiles told council members Heidebrecht already was certified as a law enforcement officer.

Last modified Dec. 23, 2021

 

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