The city of Decorah has received no objections to proposed 1.9 percent increases in water and sewer rates.
The second reading of an ordinance amendment to increase the rates was unanimously approved by the Decorah City Council Monday night. The first reading was approved at the Council’s last meeting in April; three readings are required before an ordinance can be considered for adoption.
The 1.9 percent increase is based on this year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate. In 2012 the Council asked city staff to annually recommend increases equal to the CPI to keep up with the expense of providing water and sewer service. The Council decides annually whether to implement the increase.
City Manager Chad Bird noted at the Council’s April 21 meeting that the water and sewer funds are “still precarious and need this type of annual support to continue to keep pace with not only rising costs but to establish funds needed for emergency repairs and small capital improvement projects.”
The third reading of the ordinance amendment is scheduled for the Council’s Monday, May 19, meeting.
If approved, the new rates would take effect July 1.Preventing freezing
City Clerk Wanda Hemesath reported Monday that two “billing cycles” have been impacted by residents continually running water to prevent water pipes from freezing during extreme cold this winter which led to an unusually deep frost level.
Residents who notified the water department their water temperature was below 40 degrees Farenheit did not have to pay to run a continual stream. Hemesath said the expense to the city, to date, is $5,900, and one more billing cycle will be impacted. Residents were told last month they no longer needed to run water to prevent freezing pipes.