Monday evening Paden City Council approved a sewage rate increase of $8 per month, to be phased in as a $4.39 increase in September and a $4.38 increase effective September 2015. They noted these are figures that are below a previously approved increase of $12 per month.
The increase was recommended by Thrasher Engineering of Bridgeport, W.Va., who consulted for the city on repairing sewage overflow issues throughout the township, most immediately in the southeast section.
The consultants also said an increase would be necessary for the city to qualify for a $500,000 USDA grant to help pay for the repairs, estimated at around $3.5 million. The city would still have to borrow the difference between the USDA grant and the total cost of repairs and upgrades, which would include both new storm and sanitary sewer lines.
Thrasher conducted studies that showed the city's sewage system is backing up at the sewage treatment plant during rains.
Council also approved an increase of $2 per hour for the city's utility clerk, whose last increase in pay was 20-cents per hour, given seven years ago.
In addition, council approved on first reading a water deposit ordinance for new customers, aimed at shoring up some $43,000 per year lost in late or defaulted payments. A similar provision is in the sewage rate increase ordinance.
Under both ordinances, new customers would pay a $50 deposit, or 2/12 of estimated annual usage, whichever is greater. If, at the end of a year, there were no defaults or late payments on an account, customers would be refunded the deposit plus a small interest payment.
Council okayed $2,400 for a new fluoride meter and computer to replace older ones that have become obsolete and a $505 bid to repaint a police cruiser in green and white.
The municipal swimming pool will open in late June, a slight delay in the usual opening date because of unexpected electrical and concrete problems. In addition, swimming pool rules will now require that children ages 10 years and younger be accompanied by an adult.
Council authorized the mayor to approve the payment of outstanding bills before the close of the fiscal year, as well as approved current bills for payment. In addition, council approved: a "Children Playing" sign for Lemon Alley; the blocking of traffic in appropriate areas for a June 7 5k walk/run; and paying city workers for unused leave time at the end of the year.
Before adjourning, council also set Tuesday, June 10, and Friday, June 13, to certify election results, beginning at 5 p.m. both days. City Recorder Tammy Billiter presided at the meeting in the absence of Mayor John Hopkins.