Why pay more?

Mtn. View Board of Aldermen prepare for rate increase
The Mountain View Board of Alderman are looking at increasing the cost of water rates. The reason for the rate increase stems from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) mandates for the city to fix their wastewater treatment plant or face fines. Kent Peetz, Senior Project Manager with Horner and Shifrin, spoke to the Mountain View Board of Alderman on Tuesday, July 2 to discuss the city’s water rates. The rate study presentation was done in preparation for the upcoming public hearing to be held on Tuesday, July 9 at the Mountain View Community Center.
 
“If you do not raise your rates and you do not have some money in the bank, I guarantee you in the next five to ten years, you will be spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars on your wastewater plant or out in your collection system,” Peetz explained at a previous board of alderman meeting in June, covered by Howell County News.
 
Determining how much the rates must increase depends on certain requirements. The DNR requires a certain amount of money to be in the city’s water account when the loan is finalized. DNR provided a spreadsheet to the city to calculate the cost of the loan repayment, labor, and repairs/maintenance to the system for the next 15 to 20 years. From that sheet, the city can see how much they need to raise their rates to cover those costs.
 
Currently, the City of Mountain View has around six and a half million dollars ready for the wastewater project. According to Peetz, around five million dollars will go into necessary repairs of the city’s wastewater system. Concerning repairs, there are 12,000 feet of line of pipe that needs to be lined with a new liner. A little over 12,000 feet of pipe that needs to be dug up and replaced. There are 91 point repairs that need to be dug up and repaired, 13 man holes that need to be replaced, 21 man holes that need to be dug up and repaired, sewer interceptors of 7,000 feet of 12 inch pipe from the park to the sewer to the wastewater treatment plant that needs to be upsized to 15 inches down to the sewer, upsized to 18 inches past there, and upsized to 21 inches before it hits the waste water plant, along with 22 manholes around that section that need replaced. This will also help relieve some of the flooding issues in the middle of town. These improvements would help the water flow recede faster.
 
The goal of Horner and Shifrin, the company contracted by the City of Mountain View to complete the scope of the project, is to try and eliminate most of the inflow and infiltration (I&I). I&I is the process of groundwater, or water from sources other than domestic wastewater, entering sanitary sewers. When rain water gets into the sewer, that is infiltration. That is clean water that the city does not want to treat at the wastewater plant.
 
DNR has unequivocally told the city of Mountain View that the “current user charges are not sufficient.” When discussion of this project began back in 2021, the city passed an ordinance that instituted regular rate increases. Under that ordinance, beginning February 8, 2021 user charges increased once per year, at a rate of 50 cents per year. Rates went from $8.50 to $9.00; $9.00 to $9.50; and $9.50 to the current $10.00. Residential water rates are $10.00 for the first thousand gallons and $6.00 for each additional thousand gallon. The average residential user consumes 4,164 gallons a month. Commercial rates are set at $9.35 for the first thousand gallons and $5.55 for each additional thousand gallon.
 
Peetz went on to explain the loan. “You are set to borrow $3,091,500. That is your loan. You have now been approved for $3.5 million in grants (money that does not have to be paid back).” The first payment for this loan will be at the end of the fiscal year 2025. The funding was voted on by the citizens of Mountain View when they approved a $6 million bond to fund the project.
 
Mayor Charry McCann encouraged the citizens of Mountain View to attend the public hearing. “My hope is for the citizens of Mountain View to realize how important this is for the city.”
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