MARYVILLE, Mo. — The typical Maryville resident will see their monthly water and sewer bill rise by about $9 next year after rate increases approved by the City Council on Monday.
The new rates will take effect for usage beginning Jan. 1.
In September, a study commissioned by the council showed that without significant and immediate increases, the water/sewer fund would be unable to keep up with expenses as soon as the end of the next fiscal year in October 2022.
To address the urgent need, consulting firm NewGen Strategies and Solutions recommended an increase of 25 percent to water rates and 50 percent to sewer rates, followed by three percent increases each year thereafter for five years. That plan would have seen the typical Maryville customer’s monthly bill jump from $46.08 to $63.03 — about $17 — next year.
Last month, the council discussed alternative models that would spread the initial increase out over multiple years to help reduce the immediate impact on ratepayers, but would cost customers a little more in the long run. Ultimately council members agreed on a two-year phase-in, the first year of which they codified into ordinance on Monday.
“I know this is a tough thing — no one wants to raise the bills,” said council member Dannen Merrill at Monday’s meeting. “But at the end of the day, these enterprise funds are designed to show us how much we need to charge for services, and clearly, there is a need to increase the prices here. But I applaud staff on finding ways to ease that increase in pricing.”
Under the two-year phase-in plan, customers should expect a more significant increase in January 2023 that will see the typical Maryville resident’s monthly bill rise by a little more than $12. After that, the more modest three percent annual increases to water and sewer rates will kick in, although, in order to similarly blunt the impact of the anticipated cost of a new water treatment plant at some point in the next few years, council members have discussed the possibility of spreading the needed rate increases for that project out over several years as well.
The ordinance approved Monday addresses only next year, though, to allow council members — and future council members — some flexibility in precisely how much rates will need to change year-to-year.
The increases are needed, NewGen’s study showed, just to keep up with the regular costs and maintenance of delivering water to approximately 12,000 residents and more than 4,300 water and wastewater connections — it does not include costs of additional projects or capital improvements, like a possible water treatment facility or other initiatives designed to address ongoing issues with taste and odor.
The $1.3 million granular activated carbon adsorber being installed at the Maryville Water Treatment Plant did not meet its target in-service date of Nov. 1, but City Manager Greg McDanel said it should be up and running within a couple of weeks.
The adsorber will filter out particles during water treatment that are leading causes of the frequent taste and odor issues present in Maryville’s drinking water over the past few years, including the compound geosmin.
At Monday’s meeting, McDanel said that shipping delays resulted in overshooting the estimated completion date, but that the adsorber will be online in time to deal with winter lake turnover, when levels of algae on the city’s water source, Mozingo Lake, typically spike, leading to more taste and odor problems.
The adsorber is an interim measure intended to mitigate the long-running aesthetic issues with drinking water while city officials evaluate possible long-term solutions, including a new water treatment plant — which, so far, has looked to be the preferred option by City Council members.
As one of the first steps toward that goal, included in the city budget this year are funds for a pilot water treatment plant, which is required by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources before constructing a new, full plant. The pilot plant will be used to test out different treatment methods — like ozone, GAC and others — and fine tune them to determine the most effective strategies for use in a new facility.
During Monday’s meeting, council members approved the purchase of a new primary server and associated software from MTE Office Center for the Northwest Regional Communications Center at a cost of up to $14,949.
Maryville Police Chief Ron Christian said the new server became necessary after the NRCC — the newly formed consolidated dispatch center that began operations last year — started to use new software for medical calls. When dispatchers made the move to the new R. Keith Wood Public Safety Facility last fall, they had been assured by a contractor that the server would be compatible with the new software.
However, it turns out the server is only compatible with an outdated version of the software, necessitating the upgrade.
Since it’s utilized not only by the NRCC but also for general reports and other data used by the police department, the added server space will be useful in multiple ways, Christian said.
“The amount of data that we take in — videos and whatnot — has just exploded, as I’m sure you understand, the last few years,” Christian told the council.
The initial quote, Christian said, was for about $14,000, but has risen since then, as the price of everything with a computer chip has across the globe. MTE gave the city a two-week window to lock in the price, after which it could have risen again.
Christian said MTE estimated 6-8 weeks for delivery of the server.
Additionally, the council approved a five-year maintenance services agreement with Midwest Mobile Radio Service for up to $21,823. The company will maintain dispatch consoles and other equipment at the NRCC.
The council approved a request by the Maryville Downtown Improvement Organization to hold the annual Christmas parade on Friday, Dec. 3, starting at 6 p.m.
The event will begin on Second Street and North Main Street. Participants will line up on Second Street and head north on Main Street to Seventh Street, ending at Franklin Park, according to the council action report.
The parade route will be closed by 5:30 p.m., and east Second Street, between north Saunders and Main Streets, will be closed by 4 p.m. for parade participants to line up.
At the parade’s conclusion, a lighting ceremony will be held for Winter Wonderland at Franklin Park, along with a visit from Santa Claus.
Also on Monday, the council approved two reappointments and one new appointment to the Mozingo Lake Recreation Park Advisory Board:
- Mackenzie Adamson, reappointed to a term ending in 2024
- Bob Cooper, reappointed to a term ending in 2024
- Rose Viau, appointed to fill a vacant seat with a term ending in 2022
After the resignations of board members Robert Phillips and Jim Adwell, Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland said three spots on the board remain vacant. Those three vacant seats are assigned to representatives from the Maryville R-II school district, the Northeast Nodaway R-V school district and the Nodaway County Commission.
Heiland said applications have been sent to each of those entities seeking recommendations for appointments to the remaining vacant seats.
Other City Council notes
- Council members approved a request by 39th St. Liquor, located at 108 South Main Street, for original package and original package - Sunday liquor licenses contingent upon passing a final inspection of the company’s building, which is currently being renovated.
- The council approved an agreement of up to $30,000 with Premier Pyrotechnics for the 2022 Fourth of July fireworks display at Mozingo. City officials are planning an even larger display this year than the one last year. As part of an early-pay option with Premier Pyrotechnics, paying by Dec. 1 nets the city 15 percent more fireworks. The display is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, July 2, 2022.
- Council members approved an extension of an agreement with the New Nodaway Humane Society which sees the city pay $61,200 per year for animal control services. The city also provides in-kind services — including vehicle repairs, snow removal, mowing and a water/sewer fee waiver — estimated at about $13,000 per year. City Manager Greg McDanel said he will recommend the council form a subcommittee to work with the humane society’s board soon on a framework for a longer-term agreement.
- The council approved a license agreement with Four Horsemen Properties, the owners of the Black Pony Brewery on Fourth Street, for a section of the public right-of-way that will be used for outdoor café seating.