The Airway Heights City Council unanimously passed a 5 percent water rate increase during the next three years that will take effect Jan. 1.
The 5 percent increase will raise the average water bill for city residents $2.50 to $2.75 a month. During the three-year period, the city plans to use the money from the rate increase to fund new well development, complete leak-prevention projects and upgrade water mains around the city.
“Three years in this case relates to the length of projects that we’ll be trying to get accomplished in that segment of six within our comprehensive water plan,” said City Manager Albert Tripp. “Our comprehensive water plan actually extends over a six-year period; however the area we’re focusing on now is just the next three years in terms of these rate increases.”
“This year we’re going to perform some of the smaller projects like the leak prevention,” Tripp said. “We have the capital project, which involves tying in one of our well sources to the reservoir. That project is about is $280,000 and we’ll perform that perhaps later in the summer. That will be the extent of the projects that we’ll do in 2010.”
The city will also spend about $1.3 million during the next two years to fund new well development. The new well would provide a million gallons of drinking water per day. The council will have the opportunity to review the rate after every year of the planned increase to determine if the full 5 percent is necessary.
The council also unanimously approved an application for 100 percent refundable grants from the state for the Airway Heights Police Department for overtime during the DUI “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” patrol and the nighttime seat belt enforcement campaigns. The city also was informed that the new Wastewater Reclamation Facility is on target for a 2011 opening as a two-year schedule was approved for completion of the project.
A resolution was unanimously passed extending the term of an interfund loan from the water-sewer fund to the street fund until Oct. 31, 2010. The loan will help with the Highway 2 pedestrian crossing to be built in 2010.
The city also proposed a salary ordinance for officers and city employees for the year 2010. The ordinance will have the same proposed salary base as 2009, with a merit increase built in the proposal. The city will vote on the ordinance at the next council meeting on Dec. 21.
The council will also formally approve the 2010 city budget at the next meeting after giving preliminary approval to the budget Monday night.