In a prudent motion that is needed for the city of El Dorado, City Manager David Dillner brought before the City Commission a five-year plan to increase the Readiness to Serve fees regarding city utilities. The Commission approved the plan with a 5-0 vote, which will be implemented in 2018.

Currently, the water fee is $7.40 for a residual customer. These fees would increase to $10.44 starting with September usage in 2018, then $12.01 in 2019, then to $13.58 in 2021 during phase three of the plan.

Dillner said that the City will be able to revote with each scheduled increase to approve further increase or adjust accordingly.

Sewer RTS fees currently are $8.98, and they will go up to $12.61 in Phase 1, then $14.43 in 2019, then $16.25 in 2021.

The rates’ ratios mostly are based on the sizes of the meters, which generally are three-quarter inch or one-inch meters.

“The water and sewer funds have been operating at a structural deficit. The operational funds have been spending more than those two utilities are bringing in,” Dillner said. “The main driver with that is the water and sewer funds have incurred additional debt the last couple of years without having money to offset that debt.”

Without adequate funds to address those issues, Dillner went on to explain that the City has needed to use general funds, which will make that fund less able to handle unforeseeable circumstances that may come up in the future. General governmental services also may be affected in the future if there isn’t an adequate amount in the general funds. There also are not any realistic operational expenses that can be cut, even if tightening that up would help only incrementally.

Bottom line, as Dillner explained, is revenues have to be increased to continue proper function.

Citizen gives thanks to City Workers

Homestead of El Dorado extended a thank you to city workers who helped with issues at the assisted living’s building during the July Fourth week. Staff members were concerned about water pouring out of the brick wall, so they called, and the City worked hard to find the access point of the leak, cap it off and make sure it followed regulations and mandates.

Commission sets date for public hearing

The Commission voted to set Aug. 7 as a public hearing date for the Kansas Small Cities CDBG Program housing grant, which would provide funding for homes between Central and 3rd and between Emporia and Gordy. Barring setbacks, the grant would go into effect at the end of August.

The project, spearheaded by Linda Jolly and El Dorado Inc., would include 65 rentals. A previous attempt for these grants was denied because the area was too big, so the affected area was altered.

The Commission agreed at a previous work session that the specified district would be a good place to start with these grants.

City hears from auditor

Karen Linn of Berberich Trahan & Co., in Pennsylvania gave a personal appearance before the Commission to discuss audit information. She explained that there were no discrepancies with internal policies related to financial practices and mentioned only a couple of fair-value measurements that deal with disclosed items that were recommended for adjustments in the future.