By Emily Hedges
The average family in Mayer will pay about $6 more a month for water service after the Mayer City Council voted to raise rates during the Dec. 10 regular meeting. The change comes as the city tries to close the gap that currently exists between costs and revenues in the water and sewer funds.
Currently the city has a deficit in the water fund of $90,879 and in the sewer fund of $188,904. After studying the issue, the Finance Committee proposed a $2 increase on the base and a $0.20 increase per 1,000 gallons of use on both water and sewer.
If the city continues to raise rates in the same amount each year, it will take five years to erase the deficit.
“Our plan to get prices in line with costs. That’s what we’re working towards,” said Mayor Chris Capaul. City Administrator Luayn Murphy added that if residential growth returns to Mayer, it might offset the need to raise rates in the future.
Council Member Daniel Lueth, who serves on the Finance Committee, pointed out that compared to neighboring cities, Mayer’s base rate is low.
New water and sewer rates will take effect in January 2013.
Mayer approves 2013 levy
Mayer City Council approved its 2013 tax levy of $914,980, down more than $30,000 from its proposed levy back in September and down from $964,478 in 2012. Reductions came after the Finance Committee met recently to whittle down expenses.
The committee also reviewed the revenue side and decided to budget $196,000 instead of $150,000 in Local Government Aid (LGA).
Although the state has certified $266,364 in LGA for Mayer in 2013, the city has a policy to expect the worst when it comes to funds from the state.
Approves new police contract; reduced city cop hours
The council approved the 2013 police contract with Carver County. Mayer is joining with Camden Township, New Germany and Watertown Township in purchasing police services, and will see a slight decrease in the number of service hours from its city officer.
Officer Paul Tschida, who appeared at the meeting to field questions, said that data shows during the winter, service is needed most often in daylight hours. He reminded the council that when the city cop is not in town there are still officers in the area to respond to calls.
In other business, the council:
• Learned the city will receive up to $391,000 in grant money from MnDOT for construction of the roundabout at TH 25 and 7th Street.
The city plans to move forward with the project, provided Mayer Lutheran High School is still prepared to partner on costs.