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Columbus Junction City Hall

Columbus Junction City Hall

A new water rate structure for Columbus Junction received final approval Wednesday, meaning local water users will see higher bills in August. The council approved the second reading of an ordinance rate amendment and waived the third reading.

Prior to the vote, council member Hal Prior asked if anyone had heard objections to the rate increase proposal.

“I haven’t heard anyone,” council member Phil Kaalberg said.

Mayor Mark Huston said he talked with a local resident, but said he would not have classified that discussion as “necessarily negative.”

After receiving those reports, Prior moved the motion.

City clerk Julie Heindel said the new rates would show up on the Aug. 1 billing.

According to past discussions, the minimum charge for the first 2,000 gallons of water used will climb $3 to $19 per month. Usage over 2,000 gallons will climb from the current $6.26 per 1,000 gallons to $8.26 per 1,000. The overage rate for customers outside the city limits will be increased by $2 to $12.39 per 1,000 gallons above the minimum.

According to earlier reports, city officials have estimated the selected option will increase the city’s water revenue by $61,703.

In addition to raising the rates, the amendment will require the city council to review water rates prior to July 1 each year.

The council also agreed to investigate a possible sale of city property at the corner of Colton Street and Springer Avenue.

According to Huston, a nearby property owner is interested in acquiring a portion of the property because some of the owner’s water lines run through the parcel.

Huston said he thought the section was likely part of the original plat of Colton Street, which was later shifted.

The council said another nearby property owner may also be interested in acquiring part of the parcel, but officials indicated they needed to review the process for disposing of the property before any final decision was made.

The council also approved an amendment to the construction contract for the Locust Street bridge replacement project. Project engineer Matt Walker explained a recent change by state officials in how the project is being funded required a change in testing laboratories.

Walker said Terracon would be the new testing lab, but the change would add $2,567 to the contract.

He said some work on the project is expected to begin on Monday.

In final action, Huston appointed Prior and council member Frank Best to a committee, which will begin investigating the possibility of filling the city’s vacant community development director's position.

Former director Mallory Smith resigned last month to accept a new position in Maquoketa.

Huston said he felt the position was important and assumed Columbus Junction would fill it, but acknowledged details needed to be worked out. He said the committee could meet with other interested groups and individuals and develop a plan for moving forward.

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