Twin Bridges approves intent to raise water & sewer rates
TWIN BRIDGES -- Twin Bridges town council approved two resolutions during its March 13 meeting, stating the town's intent to raise water and sewer rates. The town is raising rates to balance its water and sewer budgets, pay off a sewer system revenue bond, and build up a reserve fund for future repairs and upgrades.
If approved by council following a public hearing, the monthly base rate for a 3/4-inch water line will increase from $28.50 to $31 in July, with a 2 percent increase every year thereafter until 2023. With the final 2 percent increase in July 2023, the water rate for a 3/4-inch line will stand at $33.56.
The monthly base sewer rate for customers with a 3/4-inch water supply line will increase from $36.59 to $46.89 in July, with a 2 percent increase every year thereafter until 2023. With the final 2 percent increase in 2023, the base sewer rate for customers with a 3/4-inch water supply line will stand at $50.76.
“This is basically just keeping up with the costs of actually providing the service, because we waited too long to do it, correct?” asked councilmember Joe Willauer.
“Exactly,” replied councilmember Matt Greemore.
Council voted 4-0 to approve resolutions of intent to raise the water and sewer rates. Councilmember David Banks was not present. A public hearing on the rate increases will be held on April 10 at 6:45 p.m. at town hall.
Council approved a resolution to request gas tax funds from the state Bridge and Road Safety Accountability Account to be applied to the Sixth Avenue stormwater and sidewalk improvement project.
“We've got two different gas taxes, the old gas tax and this newer one,” said mayor Tom Hyndman. “Next year will be quite a bit more than this year. Last year, we got $4,000. It should be about triple next year.”
Council voted 3-0, with Willauer abstaining, to deny a request by Madison County commissioners to split the cost of an electricity bill overage, caused by a break in the water line to the county fairgrounds last summer. The approximately $800 in electrical use was due to extra pumping to fill water tanks drained by the broken line.
“I don't think people in town should pay for that,” said Frandsen.
“I would agree,” said councilmember Annette McLean.
“All they were billed for was the overage,” said Greemore.
In February, council approved splitting the cost of the lost water, which gave the county a discount of approximately $4,100.
Hyndman read a report from town maintenance supervisor Sam Novich, stating a wastewater pump shaft had broken for the second time. Insurance will not cover the cost of repair or replacement and the pump is out of warranty. The cost of repair is approximately $3,000, but a repair would not be warranted. The cost of replacement is approximately $4,500, and a new pump would carry a 3-year warranty. Council concurred to ask Novich to research research various suppliers to locate a new pump.
During the mayor's report, Hyndman reminded council the town is hosting a Montana League of Cities and Towns training event on May 21. The mayor said The Wagon Wheel was chosen as a site for the all-day event, and other businesses would have the opportunity to host events in the future.
The mayor reported several moose had been spotted in town, and he contacted a game warden to report the issue.
Hyndman informed Sheriff Roger Thompson that he had noticed several people speeding driving north into town, especially during the morning. Thompson said a new deputy would be completing training soon and would be able to help with speed enforcement.
Town attorney Lori Harshbarger reported she is still waiting for a requested attorney general opinion regarding the mayor's authority with respect to the library. Harshbarger submitted the request last fall.
In other business:
• Town clerk Kristi Humphrey reminded council that a meeting with a prospective bond counsel is scheduled for March 22 at 3 p.m.
• The mayor and council members will attend the school board meeting on March 20 to discuss cost sharing for the Sixth Avenue stormwater and sidewalk project.
• Council voted 4-0 to accept the Madison County Pre-disaster Mitigation Plan.