Wauneta board OKs increase in water rates

Wauneta village trustees have raised water rates to pay for the village’s $3.1 million water project.
    The action followed discussion of the rates at July’s Village Board meeting, when trustees heard from Randy Hellbusch of the Nebraska Rural Water Association, which did a rate study to determine how much local water bills would have to rise.
    At that time, Hellbusch said paying for the project would require $165,983 a year.
    Under current rates, Wauneta residents pay a monthly fee of $16.20, plus $1.40 a gallon. The fee raises $68,817.60 and the gallons of water sold per year, a little more than 39 million, raise $54,611.20. That adds up to $123,428.80 annually.
    At their regular meeting Aug. 11, trustees voted to hike the monthly fee to $24, which will raise $101,952. They also increased the per-gallon charge to $1.65, which will raise $64,363.20. Together, that would bring in  a total of $166,315.20 per year.
    Hellbusch said that would put the rate for the average Wauneta water user at $38.85. That is $8.05 above the current monthly charge for that user. Those numbers are based on an average monthly use of 9,000 gallons, but Hellsbusch said the average contains some heavier water users, like businesses.
    The rate increase passed unanimously with no discussion.
    Trustees also got a brief update on the water project from engineer David Blau.
    “You probably haven’t seen as much action going on this past month,” Blau said. That’s because the project, which is nearing completion, has been focused on water meter replacement and flushing of water transmission mains.
    Also during the Aug. 11 meeting, trustees heard an update on Wauneta Care and Therapy Center from its administrator, Lisa Kisinger.

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