Electrical Rates Increased In January, Now Water And Sewer Could Follow Suit

BROKEN BOW—Water and sewer rates could possibly be increased in Broken Bow for the first time since 2013. Public hearings regarding the increase took place at the City Council meeting on Tuesday evening.

According to ordinance 1198, “There will be a minimum monthly customer charge based on service size. The customer charges for services within the City limits are $16.00 for services smaller than 1”, $26.30 for 1” services, $90.75 for 1 ½” services, $121.10 for 2” services, $264.15 for 3” services, and $752.80 for 4” services. The customer charges for Rural $17.61 for services smaller than 1”, $28.94 for 1” services, $99.88 for 1 ½” services, $133.37 for 2” services, $290.56 for 3” services, and $828.16 for 4” services.”

Sewer rates are also slated to increase in conjunction with water rates and read as such according to ordinance 1199, “There will be $22.62 per month charge plus $2.50/1000 gallons (City) and $3.19/1000 gallons (Rural) based on winter average usage.”

Barry Fox, spoke in concern of not only water and sewer increases but taxes in general referencing the numbers that he was able to gather on taxes, water rates, sewer rates, and electrical rates. According to Fox’s numbers provided, the city increased their general fund from 2017 to 2018 by nearly 13% versus previous years that hovered around a 6-9% increase per year.

“It’s a huge consideration from a tax standpoint [to live outside of the city]. You can almost afford to live in a house that costs 50% more and live outside of town, than you pay living [in Broken Bow].”

The council and department members also talked about how the increase may be sudden and quite large, but is necessary to combat the increasing inflation as well as having to pay for projects that should have been completed “25-30 years ago.”

Gene Chapin also commented that the Utilities Department has now decided to move forward instead of sitting back. He also mentioned that previous boards were less interested in spending money and more of saving it for a “rainy day” and that this generation was now going to have to pay for it.

The three readings concerning the increases were not waived, meaning that there will be at least one more public hearing regarding the increases in the rates at the next City Council meeting.

Other agenda items included the approval of closing South 10th Ave. from South D Street to South C Street from 10:00 PM on April 6 to 4:00 AM on April 7 for Broken Bow Post Prom which will be held at the Tiffany Theatre and the Municipal Building. Safety concerns on kids crossing the street back and forth prompted the asking for the street closure which was also approved by Broken Bow Police Chief Steve Scott.

An SDL application was approved for Sylvester’s Bar for a fundraiser dance at the Broken Bow Fire Station on May 4. The application is required due to the fire station being a public building and no alcohol is allowed in public buildings without the approval of the SDL application. The event is a fundraiser for the fire department and is a change of pace from the usual fireman’s ball and will include a golf scramble, kid’s games, a dance, and more.

Also being approved for fire and EMS was the approval to purchase a vehicle from Ranchland Ford for $6,750. The use of the vehicle will mostly be for Fire and EMS Coordinator Andy Holland to use while at the station so he is able to travel into town for parts and other job duties. This vehicle will also be used, by Fire and EMS, for traveling to trainings or to travel to other communities for fire or EMS related business.

The board approved Katie Kremlacek to the Airport Authority and also approved the new corporate manager application for Schmick’s market liquor license.

The final approval was the payment to JEO Consulting Group Inc. in the amount of $7,250.75 for work completed on the Broken Bow Flood Risk Reduction through February 22, 2019.

The next Broken Bow City Council Meeting will be on Tuesday, March 26 at 6 PM at the Broken Bow Public Library