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Rate increase fully approved

October 29, 2010

ETNA GREEN — Eric Walsh and Matt Sowers, Umbaugh and Associates, Plymouth, were present at the October town council meeting held at the Heritage Park building. Following the pledge to the American flag, time was allowed for a brief period to go over the proposals and reasonings discussed at recent meetings. It was outlined since the last rate increase in the electric rates was in 2004, the capital improvements are not meeting the needs. According to the tracking records, the time has come to pass some costs on to the residents.
The proposal of a two-percent increase for Jan. 1, 2011 would find a resident paying $75 seeing a jump to $76.50, and Jan. 1, 2012, an increase to $78.03. This was passed in ordinance 2010-04.
The water rate proposal noted no increase since 2006. Again this reflects on capital improvement needs not being met. A user of 5,000 gallon of water with a six-percent increase would go from $32.95 to $34.95 beginning 2011, and to $37.05 in 2012.
This rate increase was passed in ordinance 2010-05.
The sewer rate proposal showed not holding enough in reserve for a large emergency situation and meeting obligations for bond holders at the current rate. An increase of eight percent for a user of 5,000 gallons would go from $60.90 to $65.75 for 2011, and $71 for 2012. This was passed with ordinance 2010-06.
It was stressed the council can have the option to decrease the rate or rates prior to the second year, but never be allowed to increase it. Waiting to see how the cash build up does without unforeseen major problems remains the same for two years.
The increases’ effects will be revisited in 2013.
Three patrons were present, and were allowed to ask questions. One asked if the town couldn’t tighten their belt a little further. Town officials said they have been operating on a one-percent cost. Payroll has remained down the last three years in comparison to surrounding communities. Salary and wages showed a decrease of $5,252, and council pay down $67.
Other items noted were:
• The FMHA Sewer bond for 2011 in proposed budget was down to $67,780 from $71,830.
• A local resident elected to try hooking up a generator for use. It was noted a very poor and dangerous idea.
• An employee of the Kosciusko Area Plan Commission the town is a part of will be looking into the recurring problem on Main Street.
• Councilman Jim Robbins reported on the grant work being done at Heritage Park on the furnace found a leaking coil with an additional charge of $1,058 being used from EDIT in hopes of recovering from the state.
Lighting fixtures being ordered in the United States has met a backorder of seven weeks with this being three weeks. Two companies show interest in installing them, and hope to do so the end of November or early December. This too was met with a $2,000 shortfall, and hopefully can be recovered by the state.
Council president Keith Claassen was absent from this meeting. The next council meeting will be held Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in the town hall meeting room.
Residents are welcome.

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