Utility rates, check presentations and Zoo exhibit construction highlight City Commission action session Featured

Representatives of the Eastside Park Organization and Emporia Community Foundation present the City of Emporia with a $17,000 check for park improvements. Representatives of the Eastside Park Organization and Emporia Community Foundation present the City of Emporia with a $17,000 check for park improvements. Tagan Trahoon/KVOE News

Utility rate increases, a special check presentation involving Emporia's Eastside Community Group and authorization of construction for a new exhibit at the David Traylor Zoo were the main points of business during the Emporia City Commission’s action session Wednesday.  

Commissioners unanimously approved a 10 percent sewage rate increase, five percent hike to water and no increase to solid waste. As KVOE has recently reported this is a change from the original proposition of 10 percent for sewage, eight percent for water and three percent for solid waste.

In order to accomplish this, the city had to reduce the city’s surplus reserve level below 20 percent to 19. This means less cash on hand for the city to address unexpected expenses such as damages to city infrastructure.

City Commissioner Rob Gilligan says thankfully, the city has contingencies in place to address those issues if they were to arise.

Gilligan also says the proactivity of the city in addressing infrastructure in recent years provides additional reassurance.

Gilligan says the increases are a part of the city’s five-year plan to help offset the cost of the wastewater treatment plant. According to Gilligan residents can expect to see at least one more increase in the coming years.

The total increase is just over six percent which equivalates to a monetary increase of roughly $5 a month for an average customer.

Also during the meeting, the city was presented with a check of $17,000 from the Eastside Park Organization from their fund with the Emporia Community Foundation for upcoming park improvements. According to city manager Mark McAnarney, the improvements will include new poured in place surfacing, a basketball court and connecting sidewalks.

In other business, the commission authorized the Emporia Friends of the Zoo to begin construction on the new Kookaburra exhibit funded by the Oasis Capital Campaign. The exhibit will be the lead wave of construction as part of the $4.3 million campaign which will also include construction on the Zoo’s North American River Otter Exhibit, entrance, Education Center and more.

Construction on the Kookaburra exhibit could be completed by the end of this year.

Additionally, commissioners awarded a bid to Cochran Head Vick and Co - Overland Park 5 year in the amount $160,870 for audit services over the next five years. The purchase of new city vehicles and a resolution of the city’s solid waste management plan were also improved.

The Emporia City Commission will hold a study session next Wednesday inside city conference room 1AB at White Auditorium.

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Last modified on Thursday, 07 November 2019 05:57