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  • Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Mound City council postpones decision on institutional water rate

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

MOUND CITY – The Mound City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 6, postponed making a decision on whether to create an institutional rate for water and sewer and use that rate for the new Linn County Justice Center.

The former county jail housed about 20 prisoners, however, the jail in the new Justice Center can accommodate more the 90 prisoners. The building also houses the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, two courtrooms and support staff, court services and the Linn County Attorney’s staff, all of which were served by the city at their previous locations..

At the council’s August meeting, City Attorney Jesse Randall urged the council look at establishing a institutional rate.

At the same time, Linn County Sheriff Kevin Friend has said that an engineering study has shown that the Justice Center would require no more water and sewer usage than the old jail and the car wash that was torn down to make a parking lot for the new Justice Center.

At the Sept. 6 meeting, Mayor Wade Doering said that a commercial rate had been suggested to the council before, and the council should consider it.

“If we’re not doing that, we’ll be shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said.

There currently is a rate difference for customers inside city limits and customers that are outside city limits. Customers in city limits are charged $24 a month for the meter and the first 1,000 gallons each month. The cost beyond the first 1,000 gallons is $8 per thousand.

For those outside the city limits, the monthly meter charge plus the first 1,000 gallons is $35 plus $9 for each addition 1,000 gallons.

He compared that to La Cygne’s rate for a 5/8-inch residential meter which includes the first 1,000 gallons.

While Doering read rates for La Cygne meters, however, in checking with La Cygne City Clerk Jodi Wade, she noted that the La Cygne water rates had recently undergone an automatic rate increase.

The current rates for La Cygne are:

• 5/8-inch meter: $28.63 per month including the first 1,000 gallons

• 1-inch meter: 73.39 per month including the first 1,000 gallons

• 1 1/2-inch and 2-inch meters: $131.17 monthly including the first 1,000 gallons

Water usage above 1,000 gallons per month costs $12.29 per 1,000 gallons no matter the size of the meter in La Cygne.

The 1-inch meter typically is used for commercial buildings and the larger ones are used in the La Cygne Industrial Park. The 5/8-inch line is typical for residences.

One difference in the two water systems is that La Cygne has its own water treatment plant that pumps water from the Marais Des Cygne River. La Cygne sells water to Linn County Rural Water districts Nos. 1 and 3 and has entered into an agreement with the City of Linn Valley to supply its new water project.

Mound City purchases water from Public Wholesale Water Supply District No. 13.

Public works Superintendent John Bruns noted that the Justice Center was designed with a 4-inch meter.

The city currently supplies Jayhawk Elementary, which is inside city limits, and Jayhawk-Linn Junior/Senior High, which is outside city limits, at the residential rate.

Doering suggested the council hold off on increasing water rates until it learns what kind of rate increase PWWSD No. 13 plans in few months. He said he didn’t want to raise rates now and then raise them again a few weeks later.

He said he had talked to Sheriff Kevin Friend and had reached out to members of the Jayhawk USD 346 Board of Education about the likely increases.

Randall cautioned the council to be sure, if they decide to create an institutional water rate, to have proper justification for the increase.

“You need justification if you are going to charge more,” he said.

The council also discussed how the Justice Center would impact the city’s sewer system. Doering noted that an engineering study found that the city’s wastewater system and lagoon could handle the addition of the jail.

But he also said that if the jail pushed the city’s lagoon beyond its capacity, it could be shut down by the the state, a possibility that concerned him.

In other business, the council:

  • Reappointed Lorna Turley and Grant Goodison to the city’s zoning board.

  • Authorized Doering to sign a letter in support of the county’s application for a Rural Champion grant aimed toward improving housing across the county.

  • Signed a proclamation offered by Parker resident Renee Slinkard declaring Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week.

  • Approved a $330 credit on a $1,500 water bill for the senior apartments in Mound City. Housing board member Janet Jackson said she believed that one of the tenants left her faucets running after her son was banned from the property. The result: 180,000 gallons were used in August versus 25,000 gallons normal usage. Jackson said there was a plan in place to install separate meters for each apartment.

  • Discussed the cost of issuing traffic tickets. Council Member Shayla Lamb noted that the police department had 15 traffic stops last month but that the offenders either got diversion or had the tickets dismissed. She noted the city pays a judge for a traffic court that generate few fines that go into city coffers.

  • Learned that the dilapidated residence at 218 Chestnut St. had been torn down and the debris hauled away.

  • Learned that owners of properties at 411 N. Third St. and 102 N. First St. were scheduled to appear in codes court on Oct. 3.

  • Were told that with the end of the splash park season, work would proceed on enclosing the pad with chainlink fencing and installing a shade structure attached to the pump building.

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