Smith nixes water rate increase in Waupaca
By Angie Landsverk
Two utility budgets the Waupaca Common Council approved last month will be back on the agenda this month.
On Nov. 3, Mayor Brian Smith vetoed the council’s approval of the 2016 Waupaca Online budget, its vote to seek a 3 percent water rate increase, and also next year’s water budget.
The council took those actions during its special Oct. 28 meeting.
During the Nov. 3 common council meeting, Smith explained why he vetoed the actions.
He wants Josh Werner, who oversees Waupaca Online, and Kathryn Kasza, the city’s finance director and treasurer, to meet and take a look at that utility’s 2016 budget.
Smith said in a Nov. 3 memo to the council that Werner said he believed Waupaca Online’s income was overstated in the 2016 budget during the Oct. 28 council meeting.
The mayor wants Kasza and Werner to meet before the council’s next meeting, which is Tuesday, Nov. 17, and come to a consensus.
With two actions taken last month related to Waupaca’s water utility, Smith said his disapproval of one of them means he has no choice but to disapprove the other action as well.
“I am disagreeing with the 3 percent rate increase for 2016. I might have missed it, but, I did not hear any good reason to increase the rate. Just because we have not had a rate increase in three years, does not mean we need to increase the rate in 2016.
“It sounds like the fund balance (cash on hand) is more than adequate to handle the 2016 budget. And if not, the General Fund does owe the Water Fund money. This could be paid back to the water utility. I request that Kathy (Kasza) and DPW Justin Berrens take another look at this rate increase before the next meeting,” he also wrote in his memo.
Since next year’s water utility budget includes that water rate increase, Smith said he also vetoed the 2016 water budet.
The council will take action on his vetoes at its Nov. 17 meeting.
He said the council could override his vetoes with eight votes.