Sewer rates for Mexico residents were updated Monday as part of the ongoing budget process ahead of the start of the 2019-20 fiscal year Oct. 1.

The council already updated the city's tax levy and approved the year's budget. The budget included a 3% increase to sewer rates. Discussion over the sewer rate was conducted during a public hearing by Assistant City Administrator Roger Haynes. Rate adjustment discussions are required by law to take place during a public hearing, he said.

The user charge is expected to increase four cents from $1.26 to $1.30, the capital charge portion will increase to $5.53 from $5.32 and the base monthly rate will remain unchanged at $9.09. Rates are based per 1,000 gallons of usage. A resident who used 5,000 gallons in one month would be charged $43.24 under the new rates, which is an increase of $1.25 from $41.99. This rate adjustment is similar to neighboring community rates of comparable population sizes, Haynes said.

Rate adjustments are determined by daily operation and maintenance needs, funds available for capital improvements, debt obligations and fund reserves. About $796,000 in capital improvements are planned for the 2019-20 fiscal year, with $300,000 going toward improving sewer lines by repairing current pipes with a new lining. The 2019-20 debt service is approximately $777,000, which is consistent with previous years, Haynes said.

The city approximately 11 years ago contracted with engineering consultants Horner and Shifrin of St. Louis to conduct a facility plan of the city's wastewater treatment plant.

"The facility plan outlined an estimated $12.4 million in capital improvements," Haynes said.

After Horner and Shifrin's presentation to the city around 10 years ago, Municipal and Financial Service Group reviewed with the Mexico City Council and multi-year financial projection of wastewater rates required to cover costs for operations, maintenance and capital projects of the treatment plant.

Voters approved $16 million sewerage system revenue bonds August 2009. The then-council also approved an ordinance Aug. 24, 2009 to update sewer rates in order to fund fund capital improvements.

"In keeping with updated financial projections presented to council and the public, a scheduled sewer rate adjustment is required to provide adequate financial resources for debt service and continued improvements to the wastewater facility and collection system," Haynes said.

Following the hearing, the council approved an ordinance increasing sewer rates by 3%.

In other business:

Council approved funding requests from Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Presser Performing Arts Center and Missouri Life magazine for advertising. The chamber will receive $575 to place light boards at the airport to inform visitors of Mexico airport history and activities happening in town. Presser will receive $4,000 for advertising for its fall programs. Missouri Life will receive $12,968 for advertising in the magazine over the next year. Karen Mossman and Steve Sims were reappointed to the Mexico-Audrain Library Board for three years. Jim Curtis was appointed to the Mexico Airport Advisory Board with a term expiring October 2021. Helen Fenlon and Bryan Gruber were appointed for three years to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Bruce Oliver was reappointed to a three-year term to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Kathy Hopkins and Terry Henage were reappointed to three year terms the Mexico Park Board and Lindsey Isgrig was appointed to a three-year term on the board. Ashley Kreyling was appointed a term ending June 2021 to the park board.

cdunlap@gatehousemedia.com