By Lasca Randels
LEESBURG – A recent review has led to the recommendation that Leesburg hike its monthly sewer rates by $6.50 per month.
No decision was made regarding the potential sewer rate increase when Leesburg Town Council met Monday, May 9.
Nicole Grzybowski, senior consultant at Baker Tilley, presented an overview of a study performed by the consulting firm.
The study used the last full fiscal year as a baseline. As of Dec. 31 2021, the town had $401,000 in cash for sewer utilities, with a minimum requirement of $224,000, leaving an excess amount of $177,000 at the end of 2021.
“Overall, your cash position was looking pretty good for 2021,” Grzybowski said.
The town still has about $2.5 million outstanding on the sewer bond, which is set to mature in 2048. Payments are $157,000 per year, at a fixed rate of 4.125%.
Net annual revenue requirement is around $365,000 per year, Grzybowski said. The way the town’s current rates are set up, this brings in around $336,000.
“That brings us to needing around $30,000 of additional revenues,” Grzybowski said. “So, calculating it all out, it’s about a $6.50 rate increase or 8.9%, bringing it up to $79.50.”
The current sewer utility rate is $73 per month.
Grzybowski outlined three options if the town decides to do a rate increase. The increase could be done all at once, as a two-year, phased-in increase at 4.5% each year or as a three-year, phased-in increase with a 3% increase each year.
Because the town’s cash position is “pretty good” right now, Grzybowski said, no decision needs to be made immediately, though she urged town officials to make a decision within the next year.
Town Council Vice President Tom Moore said the sewer system was installed in 2009 and the town is entering a time of increased cost for maintenance and new pumps.
The town recently spent $21,000 on 10 new pumps.
“That won’t be the last order that you make,” Moore said.
Town residents who were in attendance voiced understanding of a potential rate increase, with one resident pointing out that the full increase would amount to less than $100 per year.
“Any time there’s an increase in anything, it always stirs emotions,” Moore said.
“Knowing what it’s cost us the last three years in maintenance … and we’ve had some big, big, big maintenance items, I’m really shocked that it’s not more,” council member Doug Jones said.
The issue will remain on the town council’s monthly agenda to allow for further discussion. Jones recommended that a decision be made before the first of the year.
In another matter, Jones said a change has been made regarding traffic control in town. A contract has been in the works for some time between Leesburg and a subcontractor, Claypool Town Marshal Ben Sanders,
Due to insurance issues, Jones said, the town is instead going to be working with the Operation Pull Over Program (OPO). This could include traffic control being provided by state troopers, county officers or law enforcement from other towns.
“It’s not gonna cost the town a dime and we’re gonna be able to start having an officer here on OPO,” Jones said. “We will start to see some activity.”
“In the event this does not work out, we will come back and revisit the contract arrangement again,” Moore said.
In addition, Leesburg officials would like to remind residents of the following: No parking on any street between 3-5 a.m. (every day; no burning anything, any time; and please be mindful of what you flush.
In other news:
- Leesburg Street Commissioner Craig Charlton said a severe weather alert system has been completed at the Plain Township Fire Station. Testing will be done on Saturday afternoons.
- The Leesburg Memorial Day Parade will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 30. All participants should be in place by 10:15 a.m. Veterans should meet at Town Hall; other participants at N. Pearl Street and Van Buren Street. The parade route will proceed south on Pearl Street, then west on Prairie Street to the cemetery. A memorial service will be held at the cemetery following the parade. For questions regarding this event, contact Sue Charlton, Craig Charlton or Christina Archer.
- Leesburg garage sale days will be held on June 10 & 11. Town cleanup days will be June 24 & 25.
- A bid in the amount of $46,440 for phase three of the Van Buren Street curb project was approved.
- A sanitary sewer report was provided by Derek Tenney of Tenney & Sons Inc.
- The next regular meeting will be 6:30 p.m. on June 13.