Forums, tours cast on HS $7M bond proposal

A series of public forums have been scheduled in Holts Summit to discuss a $7 million bond issue proposal on the April 5 city election ballot.

Holts Summit City Administrator Brian Crane said the bond issue includes a new sewage treatment plant along with improvements in the city’s sewerage system.

At the forums residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and express opinions about the proposal.

Crane said residents also are invited to participate in scheduled tours of the city’s current sewage treatment plant. Residents interested in touring the current sewage treatment plant can contact the plant for a tour at 896-6500.

The next public forum on the bond issue will be at 6 p.m. today at Mid America Bank in Holts Summit.

Other forums and sewer plant tours with sponsors, times and locations are:

• Holts Summit Community Betterment Association forum, 7:30 a.m., Feb. 24, at the Civic Center.

•Central Bank forum, 4:30-6 p.m., March 8 at Holts Summit Central Bank.

•Sewer plant tour, noon to 1 p.m., March 12, at City Hall (RSVP) 896-5600.

•City Hall forum, 5-6:30 p.m., March 17, in boardroom.

•Sewer plant tour, noon to 1 p.m., March 19, meet at City Hall (RSVP 896-5600)

•City Hall forum, 5-6:30 p.m., March 29, in boardroom.

On Monday the Holts Summit Board of Aldermen finally had a public hearing on proposed sewer rate increases. An earlier public hearing was postponed because of inclement weather.

The board was unable to gain a quorum for its regular meeting Monday. But Holts Summit City Attorney Kent Brown said the aldermen could proceed with the public hearing on the sewer rate increases even though they could not take a vote.

The meeting was brought to order with Ward 2 Alderman Paul Buckley attending by telephone and Ward 2 Alderman Thomas Durham and Ward 1 Alderwoman Pamela Murray present along with Mayor Lucas Fitzpatrick.

No citizens appeared to comment on the rate hike so the mayor ordered the public hearing completed.

Fitzpatrick said the aldermen would be able to vote on the ordinance establishing new rates at their next meeting if a quorum is obtained. He said the board’s other matters scheduled for Monday also will be postponed to the next meeting.

Crane said the new sewer rate hikes will be used for normal sewer maintenance already obligated and are not directly connected with the proposed $7 million bond issue to construct a new treatment plant and improve sewerage lines.

If approved at the board’s next meeting, Crane said the monthly sewer user fee will increase 31 cents for each 1,000 gallons of water used by residences.

Crane said the existing user fee of $3.10 per 1,000 gallons of water used will be changed to $3.41 in 2011, $3.75 in 2012, $4.12 in 2013 and $4.53 in 2014.

“The average user would have an increase of $1.00 to $1.50 per month,” Crane said.

Last year the city set monthly sewer connection fees to increase every year through 2013. The existing Holts Summit sewer connection fee of $15.83 a month will increase to $17.53 a month on April 1, 2011. The connection fee will increase to $19.23 on April 1, 2012, and to $20.91 per month on April 1, 2013.

Crane said the Jefferson City Sewer Treatment Plant currently is used to process some of Holts Summit sewage under an agreement between Jefferson City and Holts Summit. The remaining sewage is processed at the current Holts Summit sewage treatment plant, which is old and needs to be replaced, he said.

Crane said it is not cost effective to pipe all sewage to the Jefferson City treatment plant because costs would be higher than building Holts Summit’s own new treatment plant.

Crane said Jefferson City passed a sewer bond issue last year and will impose residential rate hikes in Jefferson City ranging from 35 to 40 percent during the next five years to pay for the bonds used to finance improvements in the Jefferson City sewerage system and treatment plant.

Just to treat part of Holts Summit’s sewage piped to it, Jefferson City charges Holts Summit 71 percent of its fee charged to Jefferson City residents for sewage service, Crane said.

Holts Summit also has added some lift stations to its sewerage system. Crane said the extra expense of the lift stations and higher Jefferson City sewage treatment fees account for the current Holts Summit sewer user fee increases.

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