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July 31 hearing set on IR water, sewer rates PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nikki Mitchell   
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 1:58 PM

IRON RIVER—At its July 17 regular meeting, the Iron River City Council agreed to move forward with changes in city sewer rates.
After GEI Consultants looked into how the city’s sewer rates are working for the city, it studied how the customer base has changed and why revenue wasn’t matching expenses.
According to City Manager Perry Franzoi, the city’s bill from the West Iron County Sewer Authority has increased by approximately $20,000. The employees’ fringe benefits are also increasing.
With the changes in rates, the city will also create a utility bill that is easier for customers to understand while being more profitable to the city so it can pay the WICSA bill. Instead of several charges on a bill, it will be broken down with one item for water, one for sewer and one for garbage.
On sewer rates, the city is looking at two options: either basing rates on water usage or using a flat rate for all users.
During the meeting, one citizen said it wouldn’t be fair to have a flat rate and that rates should be determined by water usage.
A public hearing on amending the water and sewer rates will be held on Wednesday, July 31, at 6 p.m.
The Genesee Street DIG Grant project will be delayed because bids came in higher than the allocated grant fund. No recommendation of award has been given due to the high bids.
GEI Consultants said it will ask for an extension through next construction season instead of having the project completed by next summer.
The council approved the purchase of a new lawnmower for the public works department. The current lawnmower is 12 to 15 years old and has had several problems. The council agreed to move forward and purchase a lawnmower from a local business for $9,799.
During the meeting, Craig Patterson from the Woda Group in Ohio asked the city to approve payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) for the Woodridge and Hillside apartments in order to do renovations on the properties.
The PILT would freeze taxes for both properties at the current rate for 16 years. Council members agreed to add a discussion and possible resolution and approval during the July 31 public hearing.
The council approved a master plan recommendation from Franzoi. The master plan needs to be updated so it would comply with the zoning ordinance.
“It sets a tone for where you want the city to be in the future,” Franzoi said.
In other business, the council:
--Appointed Rachel Andreski as city clerk.
--Decided to advertise for the assessor contract because the current assessor is retiring on June 30.
--Approved the Rural Development sewer system improvements 2009 estimate of funds needed.
--Approved the Tousignant invoice of $1,382.50.
--Approved the Sensus invoice of $1,732.50 for the software support for the utility billing software.
--Voted to adopt amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance.


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