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City of Wellington defends raising utility rates

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Thank you for your input. +20 Vote up Vote down notlla · 254 weeks ago Last week I spent a day in Hutchison with a friend The Topic of utility bills was brought up, He showed me his[ water , Sewer and trash bill ] . they used 4,000 gal of water witch is about average for a house hold. The total bill was thirty two dollars and change. Report Reply 1 reply · active 254 weeks ago +30 Vote up Vote down ScaredforWellhole · 254 weeks ago So our population is decreasing, let’s make it more expensive to live here, that will help! Report Reply 0 replies · active 254 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down Wow · 254 weeks ago Notlla, Did you not read the article talking about city populations and supporting infrastructure? The cost you pay for water doesn’t just cover the water. It covers the infrastructure required to deliver it to you. Less residents paying into this means more cost of delivery. Comparing a city the size of Wellington (pop. 7,967 2013 count) to Hutchinson (pop 41,889 2013) is like comparing apples to oranges. It’s called economies of scale. Find a municipality the size of Wellington and compare their rates and see what they are paying. That will give you a better idea as to if what you are paying is too high. Report Reply 0 replies · active 254 weeks ago +10 Vote up Vote down Concerned citizen!! · 254 weeks ago For a single father trying to raise a family,this utility issue is ridiculous! I see why our town is falling apart, hmmm wonder if that’s why GUS LEFT! Live well live what? Forgot how that goes oh yea “live well live in poverty” we should all be concerned about our children’s future in this town, o yes let’s get a brand new truck to check water meters! Report Reply 3 replies · active 254 weeks ago +14 Vote up Vote down 20-20 vision · 254 weeks ago Kelly Green is a landlord. She doesnt want a bigger property tax because she will have to pay it. Thats why she wants to raise utilities instead. Period, fact. That way the city whets its already-unhealty appetite for cash from us, not the prop tax. And many of *us* have been pointing this out for over a year, too. Report Reply 0 replies · active 254 weeks ago +14 Vote up Vote down john · 254 weeks ago It is hard enough to pay what they charge now!!..what’s next..I think it’s time to go elsewhere… Report Reply 0 replies · active 254 weeks ago +10 Vote up Vote down home of the poor · 254 weeks ago This town is decreasing due to the amount of money we have to pay out here for utilities, taxes and all the darn mills on it, etc. We are at risk of losing our hospital, which raising the utility rates, we probably wont be able to keep it now. This is just ridiculous. I am sorry, you keep saying we are the lowest in utilities, but I beg to differ. I have talked to many people I know in smaller towns all around us. Their bills are significantly less than what we are paying here. You will see more and more people moving away, even just to smaller towns around us because it is less. Why haven’t we looked into these windmills? Is it because it takes money from the city? I mean, we should be looking at anyway possible to make it reasonable to live here. The poor are drowning with these high bills. Your “level pay” is a joke, how is that supposed to help someone when they have had high bills in the summer, I know mine would have been over 400/month for level pay. Really? Just ridiculous. Its sad that our town is going downhill. Look back in the 90’s what were we doing that was right? The town was booming then. Get this town from breaking the poor. Report Reply 0 replies · active 254 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Guest · 254 weeks ago Giving the hospital free utilities probably didn’t affect the reserves!! Report Reply 0 replies · active 254 weeks ago +8 Vote up Vote down Guest · 254 weeks ago The rate raised to 58 cents per kilowatt from WHAT? What was the previous rate? How much is the increase? Report Reply 0 replies · active 254 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down turkeyleg · 254 weeks ago How’s that tax and spend Wetta working out for ya! He takes and he spends. Well, you people voted for them, enjoy it. Report Reply 0 replies · active 254 weeks ago 123Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Wellington city officials were expecting some backlash when they decided to raise utility rates by a significant amount. At a worksession early this week the council agreed to move forward with a plan that will increase electric rates significantly. They plan to vote on the issue at the next meeting, Oct. 6.The raise in electric rates come on the heels of increases to water and sewer rates, as well as a raise in property taxes.The basic meter rate, or minimum cost per month will rise from $10 to $15 per month for the smallest residential units. The kilowatt charge will rise to 58 cents. They eliminated having different rates for winter and summer.City officials have been talking about this for nearly a year. Part of the problem was that there had not been a rate increase in several years and those rates have not kept pace with general rising costs the city faces. In light of that they have added an annual increase in the new ordinances setting the rates. The council can vote to not do the increase in any given year, but if they don’t take action there will be a 2.25 rate increase each year.City Manager Roy Eckert said people are used to not having an increase, so a large increase hits harder. He maintains Wellington’s rates are lower than many cities of similar size.Council member Kelly Green said the city needs to be able to plan for the future, and put some money aside for infrastructure needs.“We have not had that, and people wonder why their water pressure is bad,” she said.The electric part of the utility bill is complicated by federal and state regulations, as well as the relationship with Westar and the Kansas Power Pool. The city did get a bit of good news though, as the  fuel adjustment charge will be going down. That is something set by the KPP and the city passes that along. The decrease wont make up for the rate increase, but it will soften the blow some.Green defended the council’s moves and said problems Wellington faces are not unique. Small towns all over the nation have the same problems. They have a smaller population which means there are fewer people to foot the bill for things like infrastructure and basic services.Green said if infrastructure is not kept up the town will continue to lose residents.“The only thing unique about our situation is how we deal with it,” she said.But for now the city is struggling to meet its basic costs.The city has not done a good job of planning for that, Green said, and she wants to change that.A case in point is the city was advised to raise water and sewer rates in 2009 to cover costs, but did not do so until 2014.For years the city was taking money out of utilities an using it for the general  fund  to avoid raising property taxes. The electric department was also subsidizing the water and sewer facilities. That is what has put the city in its current bind.Pulling money out of utilities for the general fund is a common practice, but an adviser told them last year they had done it too much.The city is trying to rebuild its reserves to protect its credit rating. They will also be taking less money out of the utility fund. So while they are raising rates, city officials are still in lean times.were some other issues that came up during the work session that have been under discussion for some time.The city reduced its number of utility classifications from seven to five, eliminating or combining some. Eckert said this will not result in a classification change for anyone.They will also be charging out of town customers more for utilities, which is again a common practice but had not been done in Wellington.Eckert said no one likes to make the hard decisions like raising rates, but he said it needs to be done to keep the city in business.A declining population means there are fewer people to pay into the system to pay for basic services.Green feels the decline in the number of people will only get worse if infrastructure is not taken care of.“We have to pay a little more now to secure our future. It is cheaper to fix it now in the long run,” she said.City officials also emphasized that the increases are not related to the hospital issue.Follow us on Twitter.last_img read more