NEW WATER AND SEWER RATES TAKE EFFECT

From the Office of Public Relations:  Please note that the following contains information previously posted and shared with the citizens of Neosho:
 
Because rates had not increased since 2009(sewer) and 2011(water), the City Council wanted to review rates in comparison to the increases in expenditures that the City has seen since 2009.  It was determined that because our expenses have increased in almost every area, we were cutting into the Reserves.  The City has been absorbing the increased costs and could no longer continue with this practice.
 
There was a Notice of Public Hearing published in the Neosho Daily 6/23/17-6/30/17.
Public Hearing 7/18/17 Agenda posted 7/14/17
Public Hearing 8/1/17 Agenda posted 7/28/17
First Reading 8/1/17 Agenda posted 7/28/17
Second & Final Reading 8/15/17 Agenda posted 8/11/17
 
It was also posted on the City’s Facebook page, and the City’s website.
 
Along with the Notice of public hearing and the posting of the hearings and readings in the agendas, There were articles in the paper 8/1/17, 8/11/17, 8/18/17, 9/28/17.  It was also carried on the local television news at least twice during this period.  It was discussed in the paper 6/10/17 in the editorial section.  During the budget workshop, that is always open to the public' discussions were held for FY 17 plans in August of 2016. 
 
Council had 2 public hearings  before the first reading.  No citizens attended either hearing to speak.  
 
As noted at the beginning of this article, rates had not been increased since 2009 and 2011.  In April of 2009 The City increased Sewer rates to $3.32 per 1000 gallons and a base rate of $6.23 per month.   The City had not increased rates for sewer since 2009. 
 
However, just like everyone else, increases in cost were experienced each year.  For example, since 2011, we have seen the same rate increases for Electricity, Fuel, and Insurance.  The Public Works Department has been working the last several years on repairing and replacing aged lines for sewer services.  These repairs must be continued on a regular basis to keep our system running. 
 
The City also contracted with Alliance Water Resources in September 2015 to take advantage of their knowledge and expertise in our Filtration and Wastewater plants.  This agreement was made to ensure the safety of our water systems.  The Alliance agreement is another necessary increase in expenses.
 
Until now we have been absorbing all of these additional costs, but our Fund Balance can no longer sustain these added expenses. 
 
In August of 2011, the water rates were increased to $3.85 per 1000 gallons up to 100,000 gallons of usage and $2.84 per 1000 gallons over 100,000 gallons of usage and usage outside City limits was 1 ½ the rate.  The City has not increased rates for water since 2011. 
 
Once again, just like everyone else, increases in cost were experienced each year.  Once again, since 2011, we have seen the same rate increases for Electricity, Fuel, and Insurance.  The Public Works Department has been working the last several years on repairing and replacing aged lines for water services.  These repairs must be continued on a regular basis to keep our system running. 
 
Until now we have been absorbing all of these additional costs, but our Fund Balance can no longer sustain these added expenses.  The only resolution for this situation was to address the charges associated with providing this service.  It was the conclusion of City Council that these rates would be reviewed on an annual basis from this year forward.  This would result in small adjustments to rate in the future and would avoid such a significant increase.
 
It is essential that citizens stay connected with the activities of the City Council in order to stay informed when issues of this magnitude are encountered.  By state law a minimum number of notifications were required, but due to the nature of this issue notices were given in excess of this standard.
 
This is a lengthy amount of information, much more that we normally post at one given time, but the comments and responses we are now receiving dictate that this information be placed before the public at this time.