Public hearing will discuss storm, sanitary sewer fees

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The New Prague City Council will hold a public hearing at the council’s December 19 meeting on possible changes to the hookup and acreage charges for the city’s storm sewer and sanitary sewer fees.

The council reached a consensus on the public hearing after a workshop held before its November 21 meeting.

The hearing will be about a possible scenario the city could use to fund the present operation of and future improvements to its infrastructure. The city has been working on scenarios of how to pay for the infrastructure for about a year. The scenarios have included ways to make sure that both residents and developers help pay into the plan, which would benefit the city as a whole.

In the scenario presented to the council there would be changes to the sanitary sewer and storm sewer charges.

Residential charges for sanitary sewer use would be increased from the current $1.50 a month to $3. In addition, the hook-up charge for sanitary sewer paid by a builder or developer would be increased from the current $3,555 to $6,500, with an additional increase of 10 percent each year.

Developers would see a rate increase of 10 percent a year for storm sewer charges, and an acreage charge of $500 would be added. That rate would increase by $10 a year also.

This plan was developed after the city asked area developers for input. The developers suggested that paying for the infrastructure should include current residents of the city instead of having the developments pay for the brunt of it. Their reason was that it would become even more expensive to build a house and more difficult to buy one.

While the city has looked at other possible scenarios, it has found that with the added cost of building a new wastewater treatment plant it will likely have to deal with a deficit over a period of three to five years. If the scenario presented to the council is adopted, the city will face that deficit situation in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

After the meeting New Prague City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack said the city could keep running scenarios, but it came down to the city having to choose a plan and go with it.

Councilmember Kay Wilcox said the scenario presented is one that would help the city split the costs 50/50, between the developers and current homeowners, making it more equitable.

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