At its regularly scheduled meting on November 12, held at Hawkins Memorial Library, the City Council of La Porte City approved the first reading of Ordinance 543 – Sewer rates, which will increase sewer rates in advance of the City’s sewer improvement project mandated by the Iowa DNR. The project could begin as soon as next Spring but cannot move forward until the DNR approves and releases plans that were filed by the City in 2017.

Because the project will be funded by revenue bonds, which are repaid by fees collected by the City (as opposed to general obligation bonds which are repaid by way of property taxes), the City’s sewer rates must be enough to cover the operational expenses of the department plus those associated with any related bond payment. The Council has decided to implement two graduated increases, one after December 15, 2018, the other to follow after June 15, 2019, rather than institute one larger increase when the bond for sewer improvements are taken out. Once the project has been green-lighted by the DNR, the City will review final cost estimates to determine if its sewer rates are at a sufficient level to finance the required improvements.

The last sewer rate increase in La Porte City came in 2013, when the minimum charge was adjusted to the current monthly amount of $25.75. At the end of 2018, the base sewer rate will increase to $27.50. For all payments due after June 15, 2019, the minimum user charge shall be $29.00 plus $.02 per cubic foot of usage exceeding 750 cubic feet. The second reading of Ordinance 543 will be November 26, 2018.

New job titles and corrresponding descriptions for them were approved by the Council, following several weeks of review and deliberations. Per Council action, the job titles were assigned as follows:
Public Works Director – Sam Weich
Street Foreman – Rob Williams
Waste Water Grade III Operator – Frank Laniohan

The Council also received a report from Library Director Jolene Kronschnabel for the third quarter of 2018. During the third quarter, the library presented 58 programs and circulated 6,107 items. Patrons saved $61,110 by borrowing items from the library.

In other business, the Council reviewed the 2020 Fiscal Year (FY20) budget calendar. The City’s FY20 budget must be certified to the State of Iowa by March 15, 2019.