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Decision on water and sewer contracts could come next week

The plans are in and everybody is on board, but now it’s time to get to work.
Henrietta Board of Aldermen are expected to approve a contract with the city of Richmond this Saturday when they meet for a regular session.
The city may also approve a proposal for a sewer rate that would allow the city to fix some of its infiltration problems.
Mid America Regional Council Grant Writer and Administrator Molly McGovern presented the grant application that will be submitted to the Missouri Water and Wastewater Review Committee for review that would cover costs for hooking onto the Richmond system, and do mandated repairs to the city water tower. Additionally, most of the city’s waterlines will be replaced as well if the total project is granted.
McGovern told board members at a work session Friday night that the city may need to raise water rates slightly on top of an increase that went into effect last month.
She said grant providers look at the median household income and then determine what two percent of the median income is. That number is what grant providers deem should be paid for services. According to the formula, the average user should spend $56.25 a month for water. Currently Henrietta customers pay $48.67. The figure is base on a 5,000-gallon usage.
Alderman Randy Russell said residents are already paying too high of a rate for water and sewer. McGovern said grant providers only look at water rates. Russell said Henrietta customers pay for both at the same time. He said sewer rates are already twice the two percent formula.
“Some of those people that set the rates, they need to come up here and live,” Russell said. “I don’t get that.”
McGovern said grant providers would only help out communities who are actually trying to make money. She said they are going to want to see that water and sewer systems are functioning as a healthy business and self-sustaining.
“They want to make sure your revenues are exceeding your expenses,” McGovern said. “This helps weed out whose not willing and communities who are willing to follow this.”
The grant is asking for $300,000 from Community Development Block Grants and another $208,600 from United States Department of Agriculture Rural Water Development grants. The city would contribute $23,000.
McGovern said if everything goes well the city could secure some grant funds sometime between this summer and fall.

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