Thursday, August 13, 2009

Village Approves Utilities Rate Hike

By John Larson
MAGDALENA – The Village Board passed an ordinance Monday night that will raise the rates for water, sewer and trash pickup.
During a public hearing, Diane Allen asked if customers will be notified prior to the rate increases going into effect.
“We will let everybody know one month before they go into effect,” Clerk Rita Broaddus said. “The rate will be going into effect Oct. 1, so a notice will appear on the Sept. 1 bill.”
The ordinance passed 3-1, with Trustee Dolly Dawson casting the dissenting vote. Broaddus said the new rate structure is available to the public at village hall.
In other business:
• Mayor Jim Wolfe said he took advantage of an opportunity to apply for stimulus money.
“The governor made $22 million available out of the state’s stimulus money for small projects (under $400,000) that were shovel ready,” Wolfe said. “We have to show that the projects can be awarded within 60 days and must be completed within 12 months.”
He said two projects qualify for the stimulus money.
“One is to put in a new well, and the other is to repair the telemetry on the water tanks,” Wolfe said. “I feel confident we may get at least one of the projects funded, because they are both water related.”
He said he submitted requests for $75,000 for the new well and $45,000 to repair the telemetry.
“We probably won’t get them both, but one would help us,” Wolfe said.
• The board tabled a discussion about paying EMTs a $50 stipend for each ambulance run. Broaddus said she has researched the proposal and found that $50 per run would be too high to qualify for a stipend.
“A stipend is used to compensate for someone’s out-of-pocket expenses. With some EMT’s, it would run up to $6,500 a year, which would be more like a salary,” she said. “We could not justify that much for an EMT getting reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.”
Broaddus said a range of $15 to $20 would be more realistic. Wolfe said he thought the stipend would encourage people would show up for a call.
“If you need three people and five showed up every time, there could be some confusion. You have to have some policy laid down that shows how this works,” he said.
Marshal Larry Cearley said he will draft out a stipend policy and present it at the next meeting. Broaddus said the stipend money would have to come out of the ambulance fund.

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