Platte City plans water rate increase, repairs to vital piece of infrastructure

Platte City plans the first raise in water costs due to operating rates since 2011 in its budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.Last week, Platte City’s public works sub-committee approved recommendation from city manager DJ Gehrt for a 5.08 percent increase on bills — $1.68 per month for an average customer using 5,000 gallons per month. Platte City purchases its water from Kansas City, and any changes in that rate are passed down to the consumer. According to Gehrt, Platte City has operated its water system at a deficit, as much as $60,000 in recent years, and subsidized the difference with general fund money. Despite cutting costs, the deficit remained, but the increase in operating rates cancels that out. “We’re no longer subsidizing it, so structurally we’re back to a sound financial basis,” Gehrt said. “And we’ve done the same thing with waste water.” Refuse rates also have a budgeted $1 per month increase in base costs for both residential and commercial customers, Platte City’s first since 2010. Sewer rates remain unchanged, but Gehrt anticipates that water and sewer rates will experience small annual increases for the foreseeable future because of operating costs. He wants to keep the rate fairly steady with small increases each year rather than dumping a large rate hike on users at one time. The water system infrastructure will also receive some attention. The public works subcommittee approved recommendation for exterior upgrades to the tan water standpipe located east of Interstate 29 off of Highway 92. Built in 1989, the structure is set for its first repainting and changes to its lighting at an estimated cost of $281,750. Workers found the layer of primer paint in good condition, which should save cost.

Read the full story in this week's issue of The Citizen.