The Pacific Board of Aldermen passed a flurry of new bills at the Aug. 20 meeting, including a change to the city water rate as previously discussed.

The new ordinance calls for the establishment of a user charge system for the city of Pacific which will provide funds to pay for all expenses associated with the water system.

Residents will be charged for their actual use of water and sewer services.

The increased rates will go into effect in October 2019 with additional increases in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Now, a household using 5,000 gallons a month will see its water bill go up from the current $15.18 to $22.10 a month, an increase of 45 percent.

By 2023, that would take rates for 5,000-gallon households to $28.25.

Officials note that this would be the first increase in city water rates since 2005. The proposed new rates are higher than in some area cities.

A household using 5,000 gallons of water a month pays $13.82 in Washington, $14.94 a month in Eureka and $15.85 a month in Union.

Two area cities have water costs higher than the new monthly charge. Water costs for households using 5,000 gallons a month in St. Clair are $26.72 and $28.79 in Sullivan.

The rate increase applies to all water users in the city with no provisions for high volume users.

Lease Purchase

Aldermen also passed a lease purchase agreement with First State Community Bank.

The city wants to lease purchase two 2019 Ford F-150 police vehicles, an excavator, a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee, two International Navistars, a John Deere backhoe loader, a Dodge Ram 1500, a lawn mower and a generator. The total cost is $574,839.76 over a five-year financing plan.

City Attorney Bob Jones noted that he made a change to the agreement.

“So that the risk of loss for these particular pieces of equipment doesn’t fall on the city until they’re actually delivered, rather than the commencement which is next month,” Jones said. “They inserted that language, and it is in the new draft.”

Wedding Venue

Aldermen also granted a conditional use permit for 415 W. St. Louis St. Trudy Nickelson, Designs of Ambiance, LLC, recently purchased the Uncle Willie Morrill house to host small events, such as showers, after-funeral luncheons and even small weddings on the first floor.

At the last board meeting, there was a debate to read the bill twice in order to pass it. Instead, it was passed at the Aug. 20 meeting.

The ordinance includes two conditions. An occupancy of no more than 30 persons was established. Hours of operation are limited to no later than 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and no later than 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Since the area is zoned R-1 residential, Nickelson needed a conditional use permit (CUP) to operate the small events venue.

Morrill, a railroad conductor, built the Victorian-style house in the 1890s to match the row of shingled mansions on Adelaide Street. He designed a central staircase and two wings, one side for his daughters and one for his sons.

Nickelson told The Missourian in July that the split foyer of the house offers an ideal setting for small elegant parties.

Code Update

The city also passed an ordinance that will update the land use article of the code of ordinances of the city of Pacific. It will provide for a site plan review procedure regarding certain commercial and industrial site plans.

“The reason this was recommended because the bill will create a process for administrative review and approval of the site plan without going to planning and zoning and without going to the board of aldermen,” Jones said.

He also added that if a change was needed, staff could refer an individual back to the planning and zoning commission or board of aldermen.

“Or not, if they don’t think it’s necessary,” Mayor Steve Myers said. “If they are abiding by the codes and ordinance, the staff will be able to approve.”