Rate hike may be needed to meet price increase from Westar

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion City Commission Monday tabled for study a decision for probable electrical rate increases to meet an increase to the city from Westar of about $84,000 a year.

City Manager David Mayfield said current city electrical rates of $5 base cost for residential plus a charge of 8.5 cents per KWH and $6 base cost for commercial plus 9.0 cents per KWH aren’t sufficient to meet the Westar increase under a new contract effective July 2.

Mayfield recommended the commissioners choose a rate increase to 9.3 cents per KWH for all customers, and leave the base rates in place.

With 48 residential customers, 161 commercial customers and 92 other customers such as school districts, Mayfield said those increases should generate $82,039 more revenue at current usages based on the month of August.

Other options he listed included increasing residential customers to 9.3 cents per KWH while leaving commercial customers unchanged to generate $58,291; increasing both sets of customers to 9.3 cents while rolling back commercial base to $5 generating $79,003; and increasing both to 9.3 cents while increasing residential to $6 with commercial to generate $93,415.

The commissioners tabled final approval on a $115,536 contract with Hett Construction for curb and gutter and concrete surface for the 900, 1000 and 1100 blocks of East Lawrence Street to allow City Attorney Dan Baldwin time to “fine-tune” the contract.

Baldwin said wording that could determine quantities of concrete that are to be paid for needs “to be in agreement.”

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders said engineers on the city’s water plant upgrade expect to have a design submitted to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for approval July 15, but there is a chance it could be delayed into August.

He said the engineers said the reason for this is that they are awaiting KDHE permit approval for the project. They expected the design to be approved by September or October with ground breaking a month after that for completion of the plant a year from then, he said.

In answer to a question from Commissioner Jim Crofoot, Sanders said he expects all the improvements to be internal to the existing plant rather than requiring a new building, with the possible exception of ozone treatment located to the old clear well.

Sanders reported that the swimming pool is full of water, and ready for opening May 30.

The commissioners approved use of Liberty Park for a Chamber of Commerce watermelon give-away July 2.

A request for $200 from the city for an American Cancer Society relay for life event died for lack of a motion. Crofoot said he didn’t know “if it is appropriate” for the city to keep giving to causes when other city organizations and citizens are also asked to do so.

The commissioners reappointed Jan Helmer to the Marion Recreation Commission until July 2008.

Baldwin said a city resolution agreement has been signed by Michael G. Hultberg, owner of 201 N. Freeborn, regarding the timetable for bringing the property into compliance with city code.

Baldwin said Don Marques, owner of 1018 Denver, has failed to respond to inquiries about bringing the property to code even though the city has given him extra time “a couple of times.” He said one more attempt will be made to contact Marques at his last known address, and then, assuming no reply, he would recommend condemnation of the house there.

The commissioners approved a hearing date of July 5 before proceeding with demolition of the building.

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