EDMORE — Residents of Edmore will soon see a slight jump in their water and sewer rates, adding about $2.59 per quarter to their water bill. The increase was set to go up automatically to keep pace with the consumer price index, which rose 1.7 percent during the past year.
According to Village Manager Karl Kluwe, the incremental increases are designed to prevent sudden, larger spikes in Edmore water bills.
“Speaking as a former council member, we were running deficits and all of a sudden we were forced to bump rates $5 per quarter,” Kluwe said. “In 2008, the council put this (plan) in place to keep up with the cost of living. It’s in there to keep up with the cost of gas, equipment and stuff like that.”
Councilman Jerry Rasmussen noted Edmore water rates already were somewhat lower than those in many neighboring communities. Still, he admitted increased rates are always unpopular.
“The terrible thing about it is it has got to be done sooner or later,” Rasmussen said. “Nobody wants to raise rates, but … you go to another city and they’re paying more than we are.”
Councilwoman Bonnie Ashbaugh pointed out that water rates in Edmore were heavily subsidized by the city’s Hitachi plant before its closing in 2005. With Hitachi gone, occasional water and sewer rate increases are for the most part unavoidable.
“(Those funds) have got to be made up somehow,” Ashbaugh said. “We didn’t raise rates last year, and it’s easier to raise it a little bit now than have to double it next year.”
The council also voted down a plan which had been under consideration that would have allowed online payment of water and sewer bills. Online payments would have cost residents 3.9 percent of their total bill. A council study of the matter showed that similar programs in neighboring communities have not generated much interest, most likely because of the costs involved.