Emporia City Commission delays decision on 2018 water rate increases

The Emporia City Commission held a lengthy discussion Wednesday morning on water rate increases for 2018 but were unable to ultimately agree on how to proceed.
The main option the city has looked at to best stabilize the fund and generate the needed revenue for the city is increasing the rate 15 percent. Other options look at increases in consumption rates and increasing rates on top tier customers. City staff are postponing any decision until one more study session next week. Commissioner Rob Gilligan says they have a lot of capital expenses to pay for and need to find a balance so not to impact residents too greatly.
Future discussion on raising rates beyond 2018 will continue over the next several months.
In other business, commissioners heard an update on new playground equipment coming to Peter Pan, Las Casitas and Jones Park that will compliment the natural-themed structure at Hammond Park installed last year. The city is planning to purchase new playground equipment and install a splash pad at Peter Pan Park utilizing 2017 prices from Athco, LLC to be paid partially out of its special parks fund.
Public Works Director Frank Abart presented commissioners with the low bid for construction work at Lift Station No. 9 through engineering firm Middle Creek. The total bid comes in about $704,795, bringing the total cost of the project now up to $850,000, a 15 percent increase from the original estimate.
In other business, commissioners received an update on tiny house building requirements, a review of downtown parking availability and updating planning and zoning fees.
Future dates of note include Jan. 8 - that's when Becky Smith will be sworn in as the new city commissioner, Jan. 9 - is the plan for the city's next goal setting meeting. Next week's meeting, Dec. 20, will take place at 7 p.m. to be preceded by a study session at 6 p.m.