The Lake Mills City Council approved a water rate increase at a meeting July 16.
“The Public Service Commission gives us permission to spend the money and apply for a rate to support that. With South Main and Mulberry streets, two huge projects, we’ve assumed a lot of debt. We are proposing an 8.2% increase,” said City Manager Steve Wilke, Tuesday night.
Last year a 14% rate increase was approved by the commission.
“We added a lot of new debt to the utilities this year, water specifically,” Wilke said.
Water usage is down in homes in the city.
“Businesses do not use water like they used to either,” he said.
Public Works Board member Mark Pickard said, “There is a huge variation in the rates utilities charge.”
Lake Mills is currently at $84.14 per quarter, about $28 per month.
“Lake Mills is in the 79th percentile for rates,” Pickard said. “The water utility has some serious expenses that need to be addressed...Look hard at controlling costs and where we can control costs,” he told the council
The council approved the capital improvement projects in the city over the next five years.
“We tried to project the five-year capital projects mainly for streets, water and sewer,” Wilke said.
Some of the projects being considered include Reed St., W. Lake St., Oak St. (from Main to Mulberry), Milton St. and College St.
“It gets some of our lead service lateral requirements met,” Wilke mentioned.
This year the city completed 50 lead services.
Council members Mike Foster and Vicki Schmidt agreed to sponsor an ordinance for some changes at the city’s yard waste site.
There has been no firm discussion on where a new location for the site would be in the city, or if the current site would be utilized. The goal is to better control what and who is dropping off materials.
“What we’ve done is develop a site plan,” Wilke said.
Pickard also discussed the yard waste resolution.
“The Public Works Board had several meetings about the yard waste site,” he said. “There is a lot of things coming to the yard waste site from who knows where.”
The council approved easements totaling $14,400 for North Shore Estates development. The development is on the north side of County Highway B, heading out of Lake Mills. The reduction requested it for completed sewer work. The council did not grant to reduction for electric facilities.
Wilke also mentioned roadwork in the city has been going well in the city.
“We’ve been really busy on the streets. The weather has helped. Some of the construction projects are getting more difficult as we get to the end,” he said.
In other business the council:
— Approved a conditional use request for Olson Eye Care.
— Approved a bike trail easement.