Weather Forecast


Nevis water rates may be upped due to operating loss

Nevis residents will likely soon be absorbing higher municipal water costs.

The Nevis Council reviewed scenarios of possible water rate increases this week, agreeing a boost in rates is needed to offset an operating loss.

The 2008 auditor's report determined the water system's operating is $58,943.

The current billing formula generates $31,141.

The base rate of $22.50 with 237 accounts generates $5,332.50 quarterly, totaling $21,330. Amount over base usage (47 percent) is $9,811.80.

Clerk-treasurer Carol Fridgen compiled a report showing a $42.50 base rate - nearly double the current amount - would generate the amount needed to meet the cost.

But council members are eyeing bumping base rates a bit more incrementally. They agreed to compare costs in other area cities.

"We need to do something," Paul Schroeder said. "The auditor is saying this is our weak spot."

In other action, the council:

-Learned the liquor store earned a net profit of $17,022, bumping year-to-date profits to $7,235.

n Tabled a request from newly-hired liquor store manager Mark Peterson to waive the six-month probation period for health insurance coverage.

Peterson said he'd been told during the hiring interview he would be eligible for coverage through the city after a month.

But Karl Dierkhising said granting the request would be unfair to other city employees.

Schroeder asked for more time to examine the issue, noting such a measure would contradict the employee manual.

-Agreed to a pro-rated refund of $688 for Bullwinkle's liquor license to former owner Becky Kemmer.

The suggestion met opposition from Heidi Schmeichel.

"I feel we're double dipping if we don't refund this," Schroeder said of Kathy Plumley's recent purchase of the business, and payment of the liquor license.

If the business had closed, if it had not sold, the city may take a different stand on the matter, mayor Dave McCurnin pointed out.

Based on statute language, refunds may be granted if the licensee ceases to carry on the licensed business.

Schroeder moved to approve the request based on the statutory provision.

-Learned the fire department is seeking bids to upgrade the heating system.

-Approved a $1,050 per year of service lump sum fire department pension plan, up from $950.

-Received for review an emergency management handbook for government officials.

-Tabled a decision on a sign for Halvorson Park.

-Tabled discussion on an ATV ordinance.