Water/Sewer Rate Increases Effective June 1

By Crystal Howerton
 
Following the preliminaries at the May meeting of the Edina Board of Alderman, Mayor Davey Strickler announced the public hearing inviting citizens to submit comment with respect to potential increases in charges and fees for water and sewer services provided by the City of Edina.
The public hearing was kept open through the majority of the meeting, however there were no comments submitted by the public.  Mayor Strickler read proposed ordinance number 657 providing for increased water usage rates and sewer rates, effective June 1, 2007, and specifically modifying existing ordinances, number 630 and number 646, as submitted by the City’s attorney.  The Council then voted for the second reading to be by title only.
Mayor Strickler spoke on the proposed ordinance calling it a "necessary evil."  "As an individual who pays for water and sewer services, I don’t want to see my bills go up either," said Mayor Strickler.  However, he said, he doesn’t want to see the City’s water and sewer systems deteriorate. "It is our responsibility to ensure that these systems are maintained and provide quality services to the residents of Edina."
Following Mayor Strickler’s address, a roll call vote was taken, in which Council members unanimously voted to approve Ordinance No. 657, which will become effective on June 1, 2007.
Bid openings were held at 7:30 p.m. regarding the 1996 Ford Crown Victoria (former patrol car) and brush cutter.  Two bids were submitted from Steve Snodgrass of Memphis, MO in the amount of $150.00 and D’Cars, Inc. of Edina in the amount of $50.00.  Council members discussed the bids, as well as the scrap worth of the vehicle and the cost of advertising for additional bids, prior to accepting the high bid of $150 from Steve Snodgrass. 
The City of Edina recently sought bids for a brush hog – rotary cutter with the following specifications: 7" wide, solid tail wheel, 90 hp gear box, slip clutch and category II hitch.  They received responses from IMI Equipment (Rhett Hunziker) of Kahoka, Missouri with a bid of $2,995.00 and The Farm Shop in Edina with a bid of $1,675.00.  Council members accepted the low bid of $1,675.00 submitted by The Farm Shop, believing the machine to be adequate to perform the functions that the City requires.
Carla Hustead approached City Council members on behalf of the Knox County Ball Association.  She stated that the handi-cap signs at the Pauline S. Campbell ball field needed to be repaired or replaced resulting from those and other acts of vandalism. She also addressed trash and drainage issues, and other minor improvements that should be completed soon. Due to declining enrollment, Hustead requested funding assistance from the City.  Mayor Strickler recommended that the City invest $1,000 in the ballpark facilities. 
Wastewater Superintendent Brad Eitel was present with his monthly report.  First, Mayor Strickler read a letter of congratulations to Eitel from the Missouri Water and Wastewater Conference on his recent recognition as Wastewater Operator of the Year for his Section. City Council members also recognized his accomplishment.
In his report, Eitel stated that the Wastewater Treatment facility had treated 121.4% of its design flow for the month of April.
Eitel brought to the attention of City Council members a request recently made by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to upgrade the procedure for ammonia testing.  "I am currently using a Spectrophotometer that I obtained from the water plant upon closing; it is 20 years old and obsolete," said Eitel.  "Also, one of the chemical reagents that I am using contains Mercury (now a hazardous material), and it is becoming harder to acquire.  I am suggesting that we purchase a new meter and probe designed especially for ammonia testing," he said.  He informed Council members that the cost of an EPA compliant meter and probe is $1,775.95 plus S&H.  He said that although DNR is not mandating the upgrade at this time, they would be in the next few months.  Council members voted to pursue the upgrade now instead of later. 
Eitel notified Council members that he would be meeting with Mark Bross of Klingner and Associates and Sparks Construction on Wednesday, May 16th.  He said that construction of the new UV Disinfection System is to start this week and should be completed by the first week in June.
Edina Police Chief Roger Waibel also gave his report, the majority of which was made in discussion with City Council members regarding ATV’s, Mules, Gators, etc. being operated in the city limits of Edina.  According to Chief Waibel, the City currently has an ATV ordinance, however, it does not specify requirements for the use of these other off-road vehicles. Council members discussed the benefit of using a special permit/sticker (similar to a wheel tax sticker) in order to operate these vehicles inside city limits. It was decided that Chief Waibel would obtain sample ordinances to present to the City Attorney in an effort to resolve the dilemma.
Chief Waibel said that he addressed issues pertaining to trash and lawn neglect with property owners this past month and conditions seemed to be improving.
Superintendent of Utilities Mike Wriedt tackled a wide variety of topics concerning the water, sewer and street departments.  He informed City Council members that DNR had approved the proposed water line for North Street.  He said that city employees have performed several meter change-outs, as well.
Wriedt suggested that the trash pick-up schedule be modified to allow for greater manpower.  It was the consensus of the Council to change trash pick-up from the current four days a week to picking up the entire town’s trash on Mondays and Thursdays, which will allow the City to make better use of its manpower in performing other duties.
After having spoken to City officials in surrounding towns, Mayor Strickler suggested that the City might benefit from swapping equipment and labor with neighboring towns, namely Brashear and La Belle.  City Council members and Wriedt agreed that it couldn’t hurt to give the idea a trial run.
Mayor Strickler announced that Wriedt had accompanied him on a tour of the new water plant at Clarence Cannon Dam.  He said that although they have not yet sold water for public use, they are in the process of testing it and it should be in use soon.
Alderman Miller asked questions regarding which streets are to be chipped and paved this summer and how much it is going to cost to do so.  City Council members directed Wreidt to find out the cost of oil and chips for next month’s meeting so that a plan could be prepared. 
There being no other business, the City Council meeting of May 14, 2007 was adjourned.