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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • RMU GM: Utility rate hikes likely in October

  • You can expect a rate increase for both electricity and water in fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, Rolla Municipal Utilities General Manager Rodney Bourne said Monday night.
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  • You can expect a rate increase for both electricity and water in fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, Rolla Municipal Utilities General Manager Rodney Bourne said Monday night.
    Presenting his quarterly report to the Rolla City Council, Bourne said he and the RMU staff will begin a study of costs at the end of this month to determine how much of a rate hike there will be.
    But it’s certain there will be increases in both service availability fees and “commodity costs,” the technical term for the gallons of water and the kilowatt-hours of electricity you use.
    “Slight increase” is the way he described the water rate increase.
    The electrical rate increase will be determined after the rate structure is simplified, Bourne said.
    There are several classes of rates currently, and Bourne said he’d like to realign those into five separate classes. Once that is done, there will be rate changes within the new classes.
    Bourne presented a full report of what has been accomplished in the past quarter in both the water and electric divisions. He noted the comparative rate study was completed, and RMU rates are competitive with all utilities, both private and public, that serve south central Missouri communities.
    Bourne also explained the services provided by RMU, noting that customers are understandably focused on drinking water and electricity, but RMU must think about the costs of providing far more than that, such as water, and a delivery system, for the fire department, large storage towers for water, a reliable distribution system for both utilities.
    He also noted that the utility has undergone extensive updating of water pipes and electrical lines and poles in recent years. None of these improvements are done without costs that must be recouped through rates.
    In other business or discussion:
    • The council approved what is expected to be about $55,000 for ultraviolet treatment to water in the indoor swimming pool at The Centre.
    • The council ratified a $19,000 emergency expenditure for a Rolla Fire Department communication vehicle satellite system upgrade.
    • Updates to the fiscal 2013 budget were approved.
    • First reading of an ordinance to rezone property at 100 S. Spilman Ave. from R-1 to R-3 zoning was held following a public hearing. The council declined to consider the final reading.
    • The recently completed 2013 DirectionFinder Survey, which was to be presented by Chris Tatham, of the ETC Institute, will be presented at the June 7 meeting instead. Tatham was unable to travel to Rolla Monday, due to weather.
    • The council voted to extend the contract for tourism service with the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce.
    • A resolution to extend the Forest Service lease with the chamber was approved.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Reappointment of Janece Martin to the Planning and Zoning Commission and Helen Hoertel and Ruth Stoecker to the Library Board were approved.
    • Executive session (closed to the public) to discuss real estate issues was held.
    • The council approved changes in the animal control ordinance requested by the Rolla Police Department. Fees for county residents who take dogs to the city shelter will rise from $20 per animal to $45 per animal or $65 for a mother and litter. Also, adoption fees for anyone will rise from $20 to $35. The animal shelter will not offer private cremation.
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