Hennepin Water Board Hikes Rates

Hennepin mayor Kevin Coleman started Wednesday’s meeting by switching hats to his position as water board chairman and explaining to the village board the upcoming water rate hike for the village.

Coleman, with the help of water board engineer Jack Kusek from McClure Engineering, told the board the sanitary side of the water treatment plant would need improvements, to the tune of approximately $1 million.

“It’s something that’s been in the works and planning for a long time,” Coleman said. “With the steel mill shutting down, the revenues that come in to cover the costs of these things just isn’t there because we have to rely on 300 some metered customers that we have in town.”

The rates, currently set at a base of $22 for water and $28.60 for sewer for the first 5,000 gallons used, will increase over the next 18 months beginning Jan. 1 to $22 for water and $48.60 for sewer for the first 4,000 gallons used. There will be a charge of $6.00 per 1,000 gallons of water used for water over the base and $7.00 for sewer.

There also will be a $4.25 fee for short lived assets.

“This isn’t something that we really want to do, but the equipment out there dates to 1967, so we can’t find electrical parts anymore,” Coleman said.

Kusek explained the plant had been made for use of 300,000 gallons a day, with the village now using approximately 50,000-70,000.

It also had provisions for the steel mill to double in size, and the town to grow to 25,000 people when initially built, none of which came to fruition.

“The other thing you want to consider, one of the things that Hennepin has to its advantage is, they don’t have steel mill, but they have a lot of property that could be developed into some industrial development, so you don’t really want to downsize your plant and cut your throat, just because you aren’t using it at the moment,” Kusek said. “That’s a plus for the village to have that capacity to bring someone in in the future.”

Kusek said after the rate hike, the bills would be comparable with other area towns.

Coleman said a letter of explanation would be sent out to village residents in the near future.

Source: News Tribune