Cascade water rates to rise

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

CASCADE — Cascade residents will see an increase in their water bills.

Village President David Jaeckels explained at Tuesday night’s meeting that the village’s operation expenses for water had exceeded revenue for some time. The village worked with the Public Service Commission (PSC) for over a year to study the village’s costs and rates.

“Our water system is 40 years old,” Jaeckels said. “And in those 40 years, we’ve never had a rate increase. We’ve had 11 cost-of-living adjustments. But never a rate increase, which I think is pretty good.”

Jaeckels said the PSC “did all the calculations and recommendations about what we should do as far as the billing process.”

A sheet was distributed, listing several comparative examples of current and future water bills (numbers are per quarter):

A small residential user (one person household) using 5,161 gallons: Current bill, $19.70; future bill, $28.83 (a 46 percent increase).

An average residential user (two or three person household) using 16,082 gallons: Current bill, $32.91; future bill, $58.10 (a 77 percent increase).

A large residential user (about five people in the household) using 21,019 gallons: Current bill, $39.37; future bill, $71.33 (an 81 percent increase).

An industrial user using 2,158,100 gallons: Current bill, $2,532.46; future bill, $3,635.96 (a 44 percent increase).

A commercial user, using 35,605 gallons: Current bill, $64.84; future bill, $116.42 (an 80 percent increase).

“This is what [the PSC] told us they felt was proper, and the [Sewer and Water] committee had several discussions on it, and we feel this is the right way to go,” said Jaeckels. “We’re moving forward with it.”

He said he didn’t want to sound like he was passing the buck, but “We’re going with what [the PSC is] telling us is what we need to do.”

The village will hold a public hearing on the increase in May, but the exact date has not been set. Notice of the public hearing will be published.

Two future water-related needs are anticipated by the village. They were not specifically factored into the PSC-calculated rate increase. But the rate increase will allow the village to be better prepared for them, when/if they become necessary: an anticipated need to maintain the water tower in the next five to ten years; and a possible second well, to be used if problems with the present well arise.

Clerk/Treasurer Kayla Simanovski noted that, even with the increase, Cascade’s water rates will be below average. Jaeckels said that was a number to be proud of, but he realized that any rate increase will be welcomed by few.

“I wasn’t looking forward to this discussion,” said Jaeckels. “But it needs to be done. I think our water rates are still very reasonable after talking to people in other communities.”

Other village business

Simanovski swore in newly-elected Trustee Tom Horner and re-elected Trustees Steve Green and Jerry

Hendrickson.

A list of village committees for

2016 was reviewed.

Trustee Steve Green reported that the village’s website has been updated. It is villageofcascade.org. Jaeckels said that not everything is updated right away, but an attempt is made to post agendas and meeting minutes in a timely manner.

The board unanimously approved allowing the village president to spend up to $1,000 for small tool purchases. This discretionary spending would take place if there were an immediate need for such a tool (a chainsaw was given as example), where the need could not wait for the next board meeting.

Three liquor licenses were approved, two pending completion of background checks.

One building permit was approved.

Tasked with investigating insurance options for the village, Trustee Carrie Krahn was quoted a rate that was 19.5 percent higher than what the village currently pays for essentially the same coverage. The board was comfortable staying with its present insurer.

The village’s Open Book will be Monday, April 25, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The Board of Review will be Thursday, May 26, 4 to 6 p.m.

Police report for Cascade for the past month: two citations ($20 for winter parking; $10 for no proof of insurance), five warnings, six property checks, three complaints investigated, two warrants and arrests, no traffic accidents or court appearances.


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