LEESBURG – Leesburg Town Council on Monday approved a plan to raise the town’s sewer rates to $79.50 a month, effective Jan 1.
The town had a sewer rate study done by Baker Tilly. In May, Nicole Grzybowski, of Baker Tilly, presented the Council with the town’s sewer rate review, where it was recommended the town increase the user fee portion of the sewer rate by 8.9% from $32.30 to $38.80, increasing the total sewer rate from $73 a month to $79.50 a month.
Councilman Tom Moore said the town’s sewer system was started in 2009 and the maintenance costs continue to go up. Issues include the age of the system and the Council has talked about residents flushing things they shouldn’t down the system.
Moore said the Council was required to do the sewer rate because of the bonds the town has on its system. Even though it was recommended to raise the rates, he said he doesn’t like it.
Councilman Doug Jones said the suggestion of increasing the rate in increments would prolong the agony. If the rate increase is done in full, the town may not have to do another increase for a while. The other benefit of doing the full increase all at once is it gives the town wiggle room with money for the sewer system, he said.
Jones said it’s the last thing he wants to see, but looking from the town’s standpoint, it has to happen.
Moore said it doesn’t make sense to him to kick the bucket down the road and hope someone has the courage later on to raise the rates. Instead of 8.9%, it could be more later on.
Jones said the Council had already rate shopped for its bonds to keep the rates the same.
Council President Christina Archer said with the rising prices of everything and the age of the system, she thinks it’s necessary to raise the sewer rates.
In other business, the Council:
• Recognized Jones for his approximately 14 of years of service on the Council by presenting him a certificate of appreciation. He is resigning from his position, effective Dec. 31.
• Approved a salary ordinance where town employees get a 4% salary increase for 2023 with the exception of elected officials.
• Approved its annual agreement with Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation.
• Heard that Moore and Derek Tenney, of Tenney & Sons, met to talk about a repair and maintenance schedule for the sewer pumping station. Moore said the schedule is not complete yet, but it will be.
Archer asked if the smell from the pumping station has been addressed yet.
Tenney said a representative from the aeration system is coming to check out the pumping station this week. Archer said the Council will wait to hear what is going on, but the Council has to do whatever it can to address the issue.
• Heard leaf collection ended Dec. 1 with 108 loads collected.