asks for rate hike
At the Cottonwood City Council meeting Monday, July 12, Walco, Inc. presented a proposal asking for a 5% rate hike in sanitation charges.
Walco cited increasing fuel costs and a 10% rise in cost of living expenses over the past 3 years since their last rate increase. The council voted to continue with the procedures needed. A rate increase public hearing will be incorporated into the budget hearing, which is set for Tuesday, Sept. 7.
In other action the council approved the franchise and lease transfer for USA Media to the company that has purchased their cable TV business.
A draft of a proposed fire mutual aid agreement with Grangeville was presented to the council. They postponed any action until they had a chance to look it over.
Another proposal was presented by acting police chief Joe Neumann. He said he would like to become a permanent part-time police officer for Cottonwood once police chief Terry Cochran returns from Iraq. This would give the town better police coverage when Cochran takes time off or has to fulfill his Army Reserve requirements. Mayor Denis Duman said this is something they’ve looked into in the past but couldn’t find a certified officer to fill such a position. The council decided to see if they could work some extra part-time police officer hours into the budget.
In reports Martin Fowler reported the water project on Front Street is nearing completion. He also reported the water system is keeping up with demand so far and that the aquifers under wells 2 and 4 seem to have recovered some since they were able to cut back on the pumping there thanks to the addition of well 5. They’re pumping about 185,000 gallons per day at this point which is well within capacity. Fowler expects to see that go up though as the summer heats up.
Max Nuxoll reported it looks like the sewer department will hit a shortfall of about $12,000, even with the rate increase. The delivery system is deteriorating and apparently is far from a closed system as the flow rates at the lagoons increase dramatically any time there’s a rain storm. Duman said he’d like to be able to run a more comprehensive smoke test to find some of the areas where storm drainage is getting into the sewer system.
In his street report Jack Duman reported that the grader is in really bad shape and they’re looking at $10-15,000 in repairs. He said they’ve done some looking around and Doumecq Highway District is looking at a new machine and the one they have is in very good shape. It’s about 10 years newer than the city’s machine and has had excellent care and maintenance. While looking for possible funds for such a purchase they discovered that through a discount program offered this year by John Deere, that they could upgrade their backhoe to brand new for a $15,000 payout and continue with the same payment schedule for their current machine. The current backhoe goes off warranty this year. There’s more than enough to cover this in the backhoe reserve fund and Jack thought they might be able to use the remaining funds toward a new grader since there is no grader reserve fund. Then they could rebuild the backhoe reserve fund since they wouldn’t need a new one for several more years. Mayor Duman asked Jack Duman and city maintenance supervisor Roy Uhlenkott to work up a proposal that the council could study.
Jack Duman also reported they’ll get about $2700 from a signage grant received by the highway district coalition. They would use this toward the stop and yield sign issues as well as safety signage such as school zone and crosswalks.
Jack reported the road oiling has had mixed success. They’ll have to redo some streets due to the heavy rains received just after the work was done but the work was guaranteed through September.
Shelli Schumacher reported they have received the signs for the Wimer Ballfields and will look to getting them installed along with a flagpole.
She reported it looks like it’ll cost around $1000-1500 to be able to connect well #3 to the watering system for the ballfields. Mostly for pressure regulators.
Weeds have been sprayed at the airport and agriforest and Schumacher said it looks like the park will need to be done again. Schumacher said she’d like to look into getting Uhlenkott certified for weed spraying. Fowler commented that with all the rules and regulations that maybe it’s better they don’t. Currently they’ve been hiring Primeland.
Apparently during the water line work on Front St. they had an accident that led to a residence water line being cut resulting in the drainage of their hot water tank and consequent burnout of the elements. The council voted to pay the repair bill but recommended installing a backflow device to prevent such an event in the future.
The council adjourned to an executive session at 10 p.m.
The next regular meeting is set for Monday, August 9 at which time the tentative budget will be on the agenda. There may be a special meeting prior to that time to discuss the fire department mutual aid agreement with Grangeville as well as the proposal for a replacement grader.