BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – Two large ordinance changes were swept through the West Point City Council Monday night.
An ordinance that will bump the city’s sewer rates to help pay for $1.9 million in upgrades to the city’s lagoon was approved on second reading 4-0. The City Council then voted 4-0 to waive the final third reading of the ordinance and set the new rates in motion.
At a meeting in May, Travis Squires from the city’s bond consulting firm, Piper Jaffray, proposed a set of increases over three years and then inflationary increases to follow, but Mayor Paul Walker said he felt a one-time increase would be easier to explain to city residents.
The council then moved to accept a 63% increase in the minimum user charge and an increase in the charge per 1,000 gallons.
The current minimum charge for all users is $11 and that will go to $19.25 for the first 2,000 gallons of water used per month. In addition, each contributor will pay a rate of $9.98 per 1,000 gallons used until 2025. That current rate is $5.70/1,000 gallons.
The city set a public hearing for its August 5th meeting for a budget amendment to cover the increased costs of the lagoon work. Original estimates had the work projected to cost $1.5 million, but additional costs have pushed the work to $1.9 million. That hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m.
The council also approved, on a waived third reading, a new ordinance that will allow golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, and utility vehicles on public streets as long as they are licensed by the state and permitted by the city.
Walker said the new ordinance allows the vehicles on the streets, but removes parks.
“I do know what’s not going to be allowed any more is parks. We’re going to get rid of riding through the parks…going through the parks is out now. The only place they can is on the south end of South Park to get to the ball fields,” Walker said.
The ordinance says operators can use public streets in a direct route to their destination. Walker said excess revenues from the permitting will go into the police department budget, but he doesn’t expect that to be a lot of money.
“I don’t expect a whole lot, we’ll have some golf carts, but I don’t know how many ATVs we’ll get,” Walker said.
In an unrelated item, the council also approved an amendment to the city code allowing for temporary permitting of vendors for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).