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Water rate hike to help fund Dearborn's new line

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

With a connection to Kansas City water coming closer to being a reality, Dearborn city officials are taking steps to help cover the cost.

At a meeting of the Dearborn Board of Aldermen Thursday night, the city passed a water rate increase of 50 cents per thousand gallons used.

In addition, the city took action to move revenue from a 1% city sales tax that was passed by voters in 1984.

Several months after the general fund tax was passed, money generated from it was assigned to the street fund, where it has since been earmarked.

Mayor Marvin Landes said the street fund is in good shape and proposed moving the sales tax revenue back to the general fund, its original intent. That way, usage of the money will be more flexible and the city would be free to use the sales tax revenue on water line expenditures. The board approved the action unanimously.

Landes estimated this week the annual revenue from the tax is about $30,000.

Cost of the main trunk of the water line being run by Kansas City to Dearborn is $541,162. There is a pump station north of Camden Point necessary to serve Dearborn, and cost of that pump station will be $159,111.

Engineering fees for the project billed to Dearborn will be $32,300.

Kansas City will finance Dearborn's debt over a 20-year period. Monthly payment for the city on the new debt incurred will be $4,500, according to Landes.

In addition, the city will be buying an estimated 66,000 gallons of water per day from Kansas City. The monthly payment on that estimated water usage is $3,230, which is in addition to the $4,500 monthly payment.

A vault—a specially designed pit with a meter in place to read usage where the Kansas City line meets the main Dearborn line—will need to be built, with an estimated cost of around $25,000.

Inside the pit will be an automatic shutoff system, which will stop the water flow when the Dearborn water tower is full.

Landes said Dearborn is asking Kansas City to also finance the cost of the vault. City officials are still waiting to hear back from Kansas City with an answer to that request.

Dearborn officials said the city hates to see the increase in water rates but that it is a necessary thing.
"We went into this hoping there would be no raise in water rates to our residents," said Alderman Lila Scrivener.
"I think keeping it down to that (50 cents per thousand gallons used) is commendable," said Delba McAuley, recently sworn in as a new alderman.

In other business, a discussion on next year's budget was held. Scrivener said the budget will include "cutting a lot of things, including payroll."

She added the city's financial situation will need to be monitored very closely.

"It's going to take some restraint on spending," she said.

In another matter, the city is checking into potential uses for the $300,000 in park sales tax money it is eligible for from Platte County. The money comes from the county's half cent sales tax for parks and must be used for parks and recreation.

"My goal is to acquire 40-50 acres of land and put in a new ball field," said McAuley, who serves as park committee member for the aldermen.

She pointed out the Platte County funding can't be used at the current Dean Park, because it actually sits across the county line into Buchanan County.

In addition to a ball field, McAuley said she'd like to see a soccer field and walking trails.

"This is what I'd like to see and what I'm hearing from the community. Anyone with suggestions can call me," she said.

In other business:
•The city's attorney is still studying the current animal ordinance and will send it back to the board with recommendations at a later.

•The aldermen, in executive session, agreed to pay the health insurance costs of $270 per month for new employee Casey Davidson.

•Bill Brooks was sworn in as new alderman. He and McAuley recently were appointed to replace the recently-resigned Frank Downing, Jr. and Steve Counts.