Given these views, the city decided to hold off awarded a work contract until an actual minimum amount to raise customers’ bills could be stated by HMB, so that the city isn’t having to place additional financial burdens on its citizens again not long into the future.
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t have to back in a month from now and say we have to raise it a little more,” said Jones. “(HMB) had told us $2.76, based on what they were looking at. We’d had an audit down which showed that our expense weren’t as great as what USDA was thinking ... and thought we’d be able to get that down to around the $2.02 (mark), but we wanted to wait.
“We need to raise it above the minimum so that we have something to repairs with,” he added. “If all we do is just raise enough to cover the mortgage, then we’re nowhere as far as day-to-day operations. We wanted it in writing before we award the contract.”
One water-related issue the council did vote on Monday was a change to the city’s water leak adjustment policy. Previously, the city had decided to give its citizens a once-a-year bill adjustment if they had a water leak.
However, said Jones, the city has forgiven approximately $5,000 in money owed for water leaks, placing a substantial cost burden on Burnside.
“So many people had second homes here, and didn’t winterize them,” said Jones. “We can’t handle that. We can’t do $5,000 in two months.”
As such, Burnside councilors agreed to change the policy to an adjustment once every five years, based on 12 months of average usage (as it has previously been). The leak has to be at least 200 percent of what a normal bill would run, with a maximum of a 10 percent adjustment, and for no less than 3,000 gallons.