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Akeley weighs water improvement plans

     The Akeley Council is weighing options as to how it will repay a low interest loan for the city’s drinking water improvement project.

     The city was awarded a $300,000 grant through the Small Cities Development Program and has secured a low-interest $305,000 loan through the Public Facilities Authority.

     At a special meeting last week, clerk-treasurer Sebrina Hegg reported the city has two options of repaying the annual $17,800 loan – assessments or increasing water rates.

     The recommended change to bring the water fund into financial stability without borrowing money from the sewer fund, as proposed by the city’s financial consultant, is to increase water rates 12 percent and adding a debt surcharge of $7.25 for the life of the bond payment and to decrease the sewer fund 12 percent, Hegg said.

     The current base residential charge for water and sewer is $55.91. The proposed increase would bring the amount to $63.16.

     The change for 2016 would decrease the residential base charge to $63.05 with the consumption charge for usage over 4,000 gallons to be $6.48.

     The 2017 water rates would increase 12 percent, the sewer rates decreasing by 12 percent, upping the total 68 cents a month, to $63.73. The consumption charge would be $7.26.

     Sewer rates would increase 2.5 percent in 2018, 2019 and 2020, with water and consumption charges seeing no increase, Hegg explained.

     At the special meeting, the council discussed shifting the maintenance supervisor’s wages from the water fund to the general fund to absorb the shift, as well as decreasing line item road, maintenance and repair amounts.

     The council took no formal action on repayment of the loan but accepted a bid of $559,000 from Eagle Construction of Little Falls, at the recommendation of Jeff Ledin, Short Elliott Hendrickson project manager.

     A SEH fee of $58,900 for professional services was also approved.

     In other action, the council:

     n Accepted the resignation of Trygve Karl, who is moving outside the city limits. The city will advertise for a replacement.

     n Approved a $500 donation for the Aug. 4 National Night Out at the request of police chief Jimmy Hansen.

     n Reviewed and tentatively approved the draft agreement between Akeley First Responders and the Eastern Hubbard County Fire District.

     The council suggested deleting the paragraph stating the First Response equipment fund receive an annual donation of $1,500.

     The council also questioned the request that two current Emergency Medical Service personnel be elected officers, one as assistant Emergency Medical Service chief and one as a training officer.