January 20, 2010

City approves new water, sewer rates

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Watford City residents will see an increase in their water and sewer rates as a result of action by the Watford City City Council during its Jan. 11 meeting.
According to Lowell Cutshaw, city engineer, the city’s base water rate will increase to $19.60 a month, a three percent increase, while the base sewer rate will increase six percent to $17.19 per month. According to Cutshaw, the unit charge for both water and sewer was not changed.
Cutshaw also noted that the city’s residential garbage rate will remain unchanged for 2010; however, the rate for commercial customers will see an increase.
“Commercial customers will see a slight increase in their garbage bill as the city has decided that it will begin to purchase and replace old and worn-out dumpsters,” stated Cutshaw. “In the past, commercial customers were responsible for purchasing and repairing their own dumpsters,” stated Cutshaw. “But we have found it is easier for the city to ultimately own the dumpsters.” As part of the transition, Cutshaw informed the council that the city would like to purchase 55 dumpsters to begin the replacement process.
The biggest utility rate increase approved by the city council was a 50 percent increase for customers using the water salesman, a bulk water facility.
“The cost of our bulk water is considerably cheaper than other communities,” stated Justin Voll, councilman., in justifying the rate increase. “Even though we have doubled that rate in the past two years, our rate is very low.”
In other action, the city council approved $65,500 in Roughrider Fund requests to help four Watford City area businesses renovate or expand their operations.
As approved by the council, the Little Missouri Grille will receive a $25,000 grant to help the business with renovation and upgrade costs; Meuchel Computer Services will receive a $3,000 grant to help with remodeling costs; Simonson General Contractors will receive a $25,000 grant for the construction of a 50’ by 120’ building that will house four new businesses; and TJ’s Pizza will receive a $12,500 grant to help the business with renovation and upgrade costs.
During Monday night’s meeting the council passed the first reading on an ordinance dealing with the suspension and revocation of liquor licenses.
Under the new ordinance, which will have its second and final reading at the council’s February meeting,  any liquor establishment that violates the provisions of the ordinance will be subject to fines up to $2,500 plus up to a three-day suspension of their license.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the final plat submitted by Cascade Homes to replat Lot 1, Block 1, Creekside Addition as well as the rearrangement of Lot 1, Block 1 and Lot 2, Block 2 and the vacation of the South 19.87 feet of the 5th Avenue Southeast Right-of-Way adjacent to the area subject to the replat.
• Approved payment of a grant by the Energy Impact Office for $3,646.54 for the fire department for fire fighting equipment.
• Reviewed the Pledge of Assets for Dec. 31, 2009.
• Designated First International Bank & Trust, McKenzie County Bank, Dakota West Credit Union and the Bank of North Dakota as depositories of City funds.
• Approved various amendments and budget transfers to the 2009 budget.
• Approved the purchase of 55 garbage dumpsters from Roughrider Industries.
• Sold a 1991 Dodge ½ ton 2WD pickup and the 1981 International 2 ton single-axle dump truck, as advertised, for $100 to Mark Heen.
• Approved the purchase of a  Bobcat Toolcat with accessories for $50,500 from Heggen Equipment.
• Directed the Machinery and Equipment committee to finalize the purchase of a new vehicle for the public works department. The council also tabled discussion on the purchase of a new vehicle for the police department.
• Approved publishing the 2009 annual salaries for the employees of the City of Watford City.
• Approved Mayor Pelton’s appointment of Leah Voll to the McKenzie County Public Library board for a three year term from Jan. 1, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2013.
• Approved the Quit Claim Deed by the City of Watford City to Watford City Housing Authority for a tract of land located in the NE¼ of the NE¼ of the SW¼ of Section 19, Township 150 North, Range 98 West of the Fifth Principal Meridian, McKenzie County, ND.
The next meeting of the Watford City City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 1.