Sewer, water, compost rate increases discussed

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Monticello City Council will soon investigate whether there’s a need to increase city water and sewer rates.

     During the Aug. 17 council meeting, City Administrator Doug Herman provided the council with an update on the wastewater plant project. The DNR is now overlooking plans put together by the project engineer (Snyder & Associates).

     Water/Wastewater Superintendent Jim Tjaden said there is no definitive timeline on when those plans would be complete.

     With this large project in the works, the council recognized the fact that the city may have to raise water and sewer rates to help offset the cost of the sewer plant project. This was one of many objectives they noted in their recent goal-setting meeting in July.

     “I’ll have this on our next agenda to discuss,” offered Herman, “knowing a new sewer plant is in our future.”

     One suggestion was to consider a city ordinance to increase rates steadily every year for five years, perhaps at a 3 percent increase.

     In relation to residential fees, the council also discussed the possibility of adding a monthly fee to all utility bills as a user fee for the city’s compost site. However, some residents would be assessed a fee for a service they don’t use.

     Some questions Herman proposed to the council concerning such a fee: Why charge a user fee if the residents take material to the compost site themselves? Should the city not charge anybody and treat this as a service to the community?

     Council member Dave Goedken said the compost/yard waste site is a new bill the council has to pay every month from the General Fund.

     “I think we need to fund it,” he said. “That money has to come from somewhere.”

     Mayor Brian Wolken mentioned that fact that Monticello is one of the only communities in the area that still continues to pick up yard waste from residential neighborhoods. With a new yard waste site, Wolken and the council wondered if that service was still necessary.

     This item will also be on the council’s next agenda for more discussion.

In other city business:

     The council approved a request to abate accrued and future property taxes on city owned property at 101 E. First St. (former Dollar General building).

     The city was gifted the building by the Welter family for use as the new Creative Adventure Lab and Innovation Lab.

     • Parks and Rec Director Jacob Oswald updated the council on a new project that would allow people to register for all Parks and Rec activities online.

     “We’re behind the ball with online registration as far as activities and rental facilities,” noted Oswald.

     Parks and Rec met with three different companies and the lowest quote to assist in this endeavor is $6,500 for the first year and $3,000 every year after that. The first year includes training services for Parks and Rec staff.

     Oswald said the online registration would allow parents to sign up from the comfort of their own home without having in-person registration at the Berndes Center with printed forms.

     The online program would also allow them to upload city maps should Parks and Rec choose to charge different fees for city and non-city residents.

     In addition, people wanting to rent various facilities such as the Berndes Center or park shelters could do so online as well.

     “It’ll be a two- to four-month process before we’re up and running,” Oswald said.

     • Stu Gerdes, N. Sycamore Street, reminded the council during the open forum that it would be ideal to get trees planted yet this fall, following the street reconstruction project.

     “Time is of the essence,” he said.

     Herman said the Tree Board recently visited a tree nursery in Dubuque and picked out 15 to 20 tree varieties they’d like to see planted in Monticello.


Subscriber Login