Sully Mayor Gordon Yarrington

Looking Ahead - Planning for the Future
          
On Monday evening, Dec. 3, 2012, the Sully City Council and the city engineer met during an open
meeting to discuss what the city needs to be looking at in the next five years. The council had been discussing water and sewer rate increases but until we looked at what is ahead of the city project-wise, a knowledgeable decision was hard to reach without maybe having to come back again in the near future and raise rates again.

The council was challenged to look at what projects needed to be addressed by the city. Then they were to look at the current projects that are being paid off and when money would come available to work on the new projects and if that would be enough to fund the new projects. The three areas the city looked at were Water, Sewer, and Streets.

Water: The city is confident of its water metering with the installation of new meters to all services over the last four years. The city has not raised the water rates since 2005, and the city has received three rate increases from CIWA in the amount of 5 percent each time for a total of 15 percent. When the city started to look at raising the rates, it was observed that 77 percent of the water we purchase from CIWA was being sold. A city usually sells 85-88 percent of the water purchased from its source. Sully’s water loss is 8-11 percent higher than expected, so the water committee is contacting the IRWA (Iowa Rural Water Association) to see what help is available to find small water leaks. We plan to start testing for chlorine in the waste water in the sewer at each manhole to determine where clean water is making its way into the waste water system and repair the leaks. This testing will be done during the night time hours when the least amount of water would be coming from our faucets.

Water Rate: The city has decided to increase the water rates in January 2013 to: 1. Keep us current with the price we are paying from CIWA, and 2. Project the cost to replace the water mains from cast to PVC. In order to do this, the water rates will be adjusted to accommodate replacing three blocks of cast water mains every three years with PVC. Every three years, we will accrue enough money to pay for the three-block project. In 2019, the city will pay off the last large water project that was undertaken in 1999 where we looped the city with a new line. When this project is paid off, the city will then look at doing a larger-scale project to finish the rest of the cast to PVC. So this will not affect rates again, the current increase should take care of the larger project that will be stretched over 20 years. Going forward, any increase in water cost from CIWA will automatically be passed on through our bills to keep us current.

Sewer: The city has two projects they are currently working on paying off. In 2017, these two projects will come to a close. During the two years ahead, we are going to conduct a study with flow meters to monitor several locations within the sewer system and narrow down the highest flows by section of the city, east to west and then west by thirds and east by thirds. Once this is determined, we will be preparing a project to line the city sewer lines. This will first come with a cleaning and televising of the lines, repairing severe line areas, and then placing a coating inside the current lines. 

Sewer Rate: The sewer rate will not increase until 2014. The new rate will then take effect; the council did not wish to place both increases in the same year but offset one a year later. We will go forward with the meter study and be prepared to launch the projects when we can clear the old sewer debt away and have the new rate in place.

Streets: There are still two years left on the city-wide asphalting project that was done in 2001. There are two streets that are on the project list, 1st Street and 5th Street. Other areas will be considered, but for right now these two streets are in the poorest condition and are being considered for bid letting for resurfacing in 2015 with work completed in 2016. This money will be from road use taxes and should not affect your taxes.

Any increase in utilities is not wanted but it is required to ensure that the systems within Sully are maintained in a workable condition and to state requirements. The city council will work to keep the increases as low as possible. Complete details as to the increase will be published in the “Hometown Press.” Please contact a councilperson or mayor with any questions. I am pleased with the five-year plan that the council has put together and see this as a major step in making wise decisions for the future of Sully.

Sully Mayor, Gordon Yarrington