During their meeting in April, the Steele City Village Board discussed the status of the water project to supply water from the Village of Endicott to Steele City and a mandatory water hook-up ordinance.
Tammy Katz, Mayor of Steele City, explained that the ordinance has been a topic of discussion for the board at previous meetings. It makes it mandatory for all properties in the village to have water meters installed before the completion of the project. The ordinance will be sent to the village’s attorney for review, after which it will go before the board for a vote.
Katz believes it would be beneficial for the City of Fairbury to read the water meters while reading the electric meters, and to issue bills to citizens. The cost to the village for reading the water meters will be $340 each month, which is based on the number of meters to read in Steele City. Board Member Megan Sothan noted that this will save the village money.
“If Fairbury didn’t read our meters, we would have to do it ourselves,” Sothan said. “In order to do that, we would need a lot of specialized equipment, as well as the computer software to do all of the billing. That would cost us thousands of dollars in order to do it ourselves. They already have the infrastructure; they already have the equipment to complete all of the services for reading the meters and doing billing.”
The meters that will be installed will be digital, which allow for radio reading by officials. The meters will be located near the curbs of properties in the village. The board will vote to officially have the City of Fairbury read the meters at a later meeting when a written agreement is created.
Citizen Steve Block asked the board for clarification on future water rates.
“For planning purposes, the preliminary rates will be $38, right?” asked Block. “I just wanted to make sure that’s for the water only; it doesn’t include sewer or trash on top of that.”
The board affirmed that it is only the preliminary rate for water, though it is possible for it to change based on guidelines from the USDA.
“It all depends on how many hook-ups we have,” Katz said. “The USDA came up with some of these figures for us. We’re not making these numbers up. They’re raising because we have to pay the loan for the project back, and we have to buy the water from Endicott. That all has to go into the equation. As soon as we get anymore information, we’ll let people know.”
Sothan stated that the preliminary water rate is still low compared to other rates of similar-sized villages in the region.
“This isn’t an exorbitant price,” said Sothan. “We’re fairly similar across the board, especially when you start getting into Fairbury and Beatrice rates. It just seems like a big jump because Steele City has not raised water rates in such a long time that our water rates have been deceptively low.”