city council

Water and sewer rate increases approved

Recommended DANR rates allow city to seek state funding

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The De Smet Common Council held a special meeting Thurs., Dec. 30 to address year-end items. Water and sewer rates, insurance rates and renewals and a list of 14 agenda items faced council members, who tackled the items in less than two hours.

The city council had the second reading to amend Ordinance Numbers II-2Q and II-4N. The rates had been adjusted from the first meeting. Both water and wastewater will have a flat fee of $19.12 for each or a total of $38.24 for both combined. Each flat fee increased eighty-nine cents to reach the new rates.

Water and wastewater usage fees were at $3.32 per thousand gallons of water. The council raised the rates to $5.16 per thousand gallons of water. The fee structure is set up that for each thousand gallons of water a consumer uses, they are charged a thousand gallons of wastewater usage.

A customer who uses water and sewer services would pay a flat rate for both at $38.24 plus another $10.32 for each thousand gallons used. An average consumer who used 1,000 gallons of water would pay $38.24 + $10.32 for a total of $48.56. If a customer used 2,000 gallons of water the bill would be figured as $38.24 (base fee that includes both water and wastewater) + $20.64 ($10.32 X 2) for a total of $58.88 at the new rates.

A customer who has only sewer would see their rate increase to $24.86. A contractor who purchases water from the city would now pay a charge of $25 per 1,000 gallons of water used.

The deposit amount for a meter was increased from $125 to $150.

Ordinance Numbers II-2K and II-3B were increased as well. These ordinances are the hookup fees for water and wastewater lines. The new rates are water 1” line hookup, $225, and a 2” line at $450. Sewer lines would be charged $175 per hookup.

To qualify for Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) funds, entities must comply with the agency’s recommended water and wastewater rates. De Smet is currently below the recommended rates. Being in compliance with the recommended rates allows the City of De Smet to seek funding (grants or loans) through the state for projects the city would like to see completed. For more on this, see the December 22 edition of the Kingsbury Journal and the article, City’s Wish List.

The City Council approved the spending of $25,000 to update the Facility Plans for water at $12,500 and wastewater at $12,500 with IMEG. These updates are necessary when seeking state assistance in funding some of the water and wastewater systems the city would like to see completed.

Insurance

Brian Bindert with American Trust Insurance reported to the council about insurance rates for the new year starting in 2022.

The Fire Department insurance rates are currently in a three-year locked rate. The premium for the year 2022 will be $7,626. This is a rate that increased $27 over last year’s policy. Even though the rates are locked in, the $27 increase was attributed to increased values on fire department property.

The city policy for insurance is not eligible for a locked rate. The premium for 2022 will be $41, 823, up $2,804 from 2021. This covers all city buildings, city vehicles, the airport, liability, liquor liability and cyber coverage.

The council approved new policies.

EMPLOYEES

The council approved a four percent pay increase to all city personnel. Seasonal employees were given a fifty cent/hour increase. At the last council meeting, the city approved a $1000 stipend for each full-time employee, and at this meeting they included year-round part-time employees at $500.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

The City of De Smet maintains a contingency fund to cover unbudgeted items and events not planned. The state mandates the fund be limited to a percentage of the entity’s budget. The city council and Finance Officer Tracey Larson have the fund set at $47,630. The amount is within the state’s guidelines.

MISC.

• A special liquor license was approved for the De Smet Fire Department on January 7th at the De Smet Event Center from 5:30 p.m. to Midnight.

• The City Council met in executive session regarding personnel for twenty minutes.

• The council authorized the mayor, Gary Wolkow to sign the State Water Plan application for the water and wastewater projects it is seeking funding for. The plans will need to be submitted by February 1st.

• The second reading to amend Ordinance Number I-6 regarding Wards and Voting Precincts was approved. The 2020 Census data led to a minor change in De Smet. The council approved the second reading. As soon as a graphic is made available, it will be published.

• The city council approved a pay request for the Turnarounds Project #16 with Helms and Associates for a total of $293.54.

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