Commission approves water rate hike

 Starting next month, citizens will see an increase in water bills after rates were raised at Wednesday night’s Concordia City Commission meeting.
 After several months of discussion, the Commission last night approved a six-percent increase in water and sewer rates each year for the next three years. The changes will go into effect with the December billing cycle.
 Starting Dec. 1, the minimum charge for water will be $10.79. In December 2015, it will increase to $11.44, and in 2016 it will be $12.12. Next month, the minimum sewer charge will be $8.78, in 2015 it will increase to $9.30, and in 2016 it will be $9.86.
 The Commission also approved an additional $10 wastewater treatment plant surcharge, which will be charged to each user. In November 2013, the Commission approved a $5 surcharge to help fund future wastewater treatment plant improvements. The improvements will be needed to address the reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus emitted from the plant.
 “The increase is basically keeping up with the costs of things, and allows us to have funds to do what we do,” City Manager Larry Uri told the Commission.
 The Commission also approved an agreement with George K. Baum & Company to provide bond services for the Plum Road dam, which is part of Concordia’s south flood control project. The company will offer for sale $1,225,000 in general obligation bonds to fund the construction of the dam.
 In September, the Commission approved the low base bid of $1.4 million from Ebert Construction, Wamego, for the construction of dams at Plum Road and 21st Street.
 Forty-three percent of the total project is associated with construction of the Plum Road dam, while the remaining 57 percent is for additional site work and the building of the 21st Street dam. The dam at 21st Street is in the city’s Tax Increment Financing district, and TIF funds will be used for its construction. Ebert Construction began work on the project in October.
 A zoning change was also approved for 600 Broadway, which is the future home of Broadway Plaza. The property was zoned as commercial, and changed to public use.
 Broadway Plaza is a proposed outdoor public event space at the corner of 6th and Broadway streets. The plan includes a performance stage, large LED outdoor video screen, a building with restrooms and storage, dining tables and chairs, and a water feature.
 An ordinance assessing costs of curb and gutter replacements was approved for properties at 444 West 14th, 1401 Hill, and 123 East 9th.
 The Commission honored two employees for their years of service to the city. Concordia Police Department dispatcher Charlotte Justyna received a certificate for 15 years of service, and Public Works Director Ron Copple was honored for 30 years of service to the City.

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