Water and sewage rates to increase

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Come January 1st, Manhattan residents will see an increase in their water bill.

At Tuesday night’s city commission meeting, commissioners approved an increase in water and sewage rates over the next three years. The move comes after an outside consultant firm determined that rates should be increased in order to balance the Water and Wastewater funds after initial projections showing a decrease in balances below recommended levels in 2018 unless revenues were increased or expenses were decreased.

“The first year of the three year implementation is not uniform, because it depends on the customer’s meter size or how much water they use,” Asst. Director of Public Works Randy DeWitt said. “During the second and third years of that phasing, it is intended to have a 5% increase, and that will get us to the ultimate recommended rate and rate structure the consultant proposed initially.”

Also passed during the meeting is the adoption of a new stormwater fee and rate structure that will be implemented starting July 1st. The old block-tier structure will be replaced by a Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) fee structure. Under the new system, fees for residential units will be set at $5.34 per month, while business fees will be set at $3.96 per month. The ERU will be set at 3,625 sq. ft. of impervious area.

The city will utilize those dollars to fund infrastructure improvements, including the Houston/5th Street, Casement Road, and Smith Street/Manfax Avenue corridors, as well as any other Downtown CIP projects.

“The reason it’s going up is because we don’t have an adequate system,” Commissioner Wynn Butler said. “The only way we’re going to get ahead of this is we have to put this on as a user fee. It will hit everyone across the board, but it’s the only way to get ahead of the flooding situation.”

In addition, the City has agreed to allocate $390,000 worth of City-University funds for the North Campus Corridor Improvement projects in partnership with Kansas State University. Within the NCCI, projects include safe pedestrian access and traffic timing along North Manhattan and Denison Avenues. The City will send the approved proposal to K-State for their approval.

Also discussed during Tuesday night’s meeting are projects to be funded by the recent quarter cent sales tax that voters approved last month. Plans include construction of two recreation facilities at Anthony and Eisenhower middle schools.

As part of the item, commissioners discussed an interlocal agreement with USD 383 over the usage and control of these facilities during and outside of school hours.

The tax will also include improvements to Cico Park and the city’s trail system.

The commission also approved the rezoning of city-owned lots in the Manhattan Corporate Technology Park near the airport from I-5 (for office park usage) to I-3, which is intended for more general industrial use.

 

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