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Millwood waterline work likely to push up rates

Capital improvements to Millwood’s water system mean residents may see increases to water rates.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Necia Maiani, engineer at Welch, Comer and Associates, proposed the city raise base rates $2.56 a month starting in 2018 to pay for the Buckeye Avenue waterline project.

The city accepted a $448,208 loan from the state to replace 2,700 lineal feet of waterline. The new main will be 8 inches in diameter to meet fire flow requirements. The project is set to go out to bid in March, with construction beginning in June.

The loan came with a four-year deferral, and must be paid off in 20 years after that. It also required the city to maintain operating and emergency reserves, as well as a reserve to cover one year’s loan payment, for a total of $128,100.

Sidewalk improvements are also planned on Buckeye this summer. That project will also go out for bid in March with construction beginning in July. Maiani said the work should be done by the end of August.

“We’re getting done before kids are back in school,” she said.

Maiani also outlined the city’s six-year and 20-year capital improvement plans.

The six-year plan reflects an estimate of $70,000 in improvements beyond the Buckeye project, such as adding chlorination equipment to the Butler and New Park wells, interior water tank inspection and exterior water tank coating.

In the 20-year Capital Improvement Plan, Maiani proposed replacing cast iron waterlines.

She outlined several options for the city to raise an average of $93,600 per year for the proposed improvements.

Each funding option reflected increasing the water rates differently over the course of 20 years. Maiani said the city could impose a $7.78 a month increase immediately or increase water rates $9.18 in 2020. She also proposed staggering water rate increases beginning in 2015. The proposed rate increases outlined in the 20-year plan are in addition to the $2.56 increase in 2018 to pay for the Buckeye project.

The council unanimously approved Maiani’s water system master plan addendum. The addendum will be submitted to the state Department of Health.

In other business, the council approved a contract amendment with McKinstry, the city’s energy services company.

The amendment gives the city until after it knows whether it won a federal grant to help pay for energy efficiency upgrades before it must enter an agreement with McKinstry or pay $13,788 for the company’s audit.