Water rate increase will be effective Aug. 1

The Linden City Council approved a proposed water rate hike and a water and wastewater sinking fund for future repairs and other costs at the July 10 council meeting. 
The water rate hike will go into effect Aug. 1 but users will not see the increase on their billing until they receive the September bill. 
“The average 3,000-gallon household will see a nine dollar raise in the bill -- this will generate $123,000 dollars,” said City Administrator Bob Swisher. 
The new rate will be $15 dollars and $4 for every additional thousand gallons of water. w
“At the water rate meeting we had didn’t have much participation and I haven’t gotten any negative feedback,” said Swisher.
Swisher spoke about how in the budget for next year part of his and two city employees’ salaries will come from the water budget. 
“In reality, the big change is going to be in the high-volume users,” said Swisher. 
Swisher explained that the sinking fund will be used for emergency situations such as well pumps going out, because the city has been using the general fund for repairs. 
There will be a separate checking account for the water and wastewater sinking fund that is exclusively for use on sewer and water repairs or issues. 
“Let’s say we get lucky and we do not have any repairs and we need to do sludge removal on the sewer ponds, we will get about $80,000 a year into the sinking fund, so we would be able to pull that money to pay for the sludge removal,” said Swisher.
There were several questions from aldermen about the amount going into the sinking fund and the restrictions of its use. 
“This fund will be for water not for city uses. It will either be used for water or wastewater,” said Swisher.
The Mayor said the exact details of everything will be worked out during the budget process. 
The council approved Barnwell Industries as the contractor for the 2016 Community Block Development Grant water and sewer project. 
Barnwell Industries had the lowest bid, $169,691, which is to improve and replace water and sewer lines and install fire hydrants along Dorcy Street. 
Also, the council approved a resolution supporting the Interstate 69 study for Cass County. 
In other business Preston Caver of Caver and Setser presented the audit of the Linden Economic Development Corporations and the council approved it. 
“Long story short, A and B had as good of internal control that it could with the number of people they have we did not find any finding or questions of cost or anything like that,” said Caver. 
Main Street Manager Allie Anderson presented an update on the progress of the Main Street program. 
“In June we had our big strategic planning meeting and we looked at the market data and things like the demographics,” said Anderson. “We figured out what the strategy will be for at least the next two years and we chose two strategies, we are aiming to be an arts and entertainment district and a destination for empty nesters.” 
Anderson also mentioned that she has created a Main Street newsletter that can be picked up at city hall, but she also mailed them to several organizations around Linden. 

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