By Pauline Masson
Pacific Missourian Editor
Residents can expect to pay more for city water in the coming months.
Officials say collections from residents’ water bills do not take in enough revenue to operate the department. For the past several years the city has had to take revenue from the sewer district fund to cover the cost of city water.
City Administrator Steve Roth has been studying the water rates and says he will have a proposal for aldermen to consider at the June 18 board meeting.
The budget shows that the city spent $1,000,522 to operate the water department in the current fiscal year and anticipates spending $1,501,433 in the next fiscal year.
Four sources of revenue provide funds to operate the department — water bills, hookup permits, penalties and transfers from the sewer district fund.
The city received $513,688 in water collections from residential water bills, $3,325 in permits, $2,000 in late charges or penalties. Some $250,000 was transferred from the sewer fund to operate the system.
The new budget shows that the city expects total cost of operations to reach $1.1 million next year and anticipates receiving $825,000 in water collections, $4,987 in permits and $2,000 in penalties. It will be necessary to transfer $200,000 from the sewer fund.
Officials note that the water rates have not increased in over a decade.
For the past several years the fees collected for water have not been enough to cover the cost of the department. The city has transferred funds from the sewer department balance to cover the cost of water.
Sewer rates also are based on the volume of water that enters the property and are billed on the water bill.
The city spent $1,322,854 to operate the sewer department in the 2018-19 fiscal year and expects to spend $2,524,346 in the next fiscal year.
In the past several years the city has collected more for sewer charges than it cost to operate the department and
rently has sewer department reserves of $1 million.
In the 2018-19 fiscal year the city received $765,698 in sewer charges, $262,963 in penalties and $19,837 from the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center and ended the year with a balance of $2,734,035.
The cost of salaries and wages to operate the combined water and sewer department for the next fiscal year is $341,723.
The city also has $850,000 in debt from 2005 bonds to cover the cost of previous sewer repairs.