Utility rates will most likely increase for the village of Iola.
“We need a moderate rate increase to cover current costs,” said Village President Joel Edler.
The village’s last utility rate increases were in 2002 for sewer and 1997 for water.
The first step is for the village to apply to the Public Service Commission for a water rate increase. The PSC will determine what the rate should be in order to cover operating costs.
“All we are trying to do is keep up with costs,” Edler said. “We don’t want to get behind in the future, and we want to be able to pay for current operations.”
“Without an increase, we would start getting behind,” he added.
Village Clerk Dan Johnson noted utility usage has dropped from its peak usage 10 years ago.
Prior to approving any utility rate increase, the village will hold a public hearing.
An increase in utility rates was recommended in a 2012 audit update presented by Mike Lensmire at the Dec. 9 meeting of the Iola Village Board.
During his report, Lensmire, of Clifton-Larson-Allen, said the rates should be increased by up to 15 percent.
According to Edler, this number was greatly exaggerated and included utility loans from the village’s general fund which date back to more than 30 years ago.
Lensmire has agreed to present more realistic estimates.
At the Dec. 9 meeting, Iola Police officer Paul Zierler was promoted to sergeant.
The board also approved borrowing $110,562.38 for the village’s share of purchasing a new fire truck. It was noted that the Iola & Rural Fire Department is replacing a 20-year old vehicle with a demonstration model truck.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a three-year loan of $24,879.33, which will be repaid by the Lake Iola Lake District.
• Set the date of the caucus for 5:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13.
• Approved an operator’s license for Daniel Haboush, of John’s Edgewater Bar & Grill, pending police check.
• Approved an original Class B retail fermented malt beverages and Class B retail intoxicating liquor license for John Wanty, of John’s Edgewater Bar & Grill, LLC, to sell from Dec. 10, 2013, to June 30, 2014.