High water usage rates likely to rise in Royalton

By Jennie Zeitler, Correspondent

In preparing to dig Royalton’s new well number four, City Engineer Les Mateffy discovered that the city must complete a Water Conservation Plan.

“The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said they sent a letter in 2007,” Mateffy told the City Council, Aug. 5. “Now we know the plan needs to be done.”

As Mateffy looked over the plan requirements, he noted that some of the city’s water rates need to be adjusted.

“The city needs to implement a conservative block rate schedule,” he said.

What that would mean is that the basic water service would likely remain at $20 for the first 2,500 gallons per month. The $3 per 1,000 gallon charge for the next 3,000 gallons would also likely remain the same. But the current charge of $1.85 per 1,000 gallons for any water usage above 5,000 gallons per month would likely be raised.

“To comply with the plan, high water usage needs to be discouraged with a higher rate,” he said.

“Most cities are doing that already,” said Council Member Al Libke.

To meet the Water Conservation Plan requirements, authority would have to be designated in case of emergency in the city.

“Who would have the authority to not allow businesses to use water or not allow things like yard watering in case of emergency?” Mateffy asked. “We would have to give someone that authority or we would have to be OK with having an emergency council meeting,”

Mateffy pointed out that many of the provisions needed for the plan are already in the city’s Wellhead Protection Plan, but they need to be put in ordinance form.

In the meantime, the city cannot proceed with well number four until the Water Conservation Plan is in place.

“I’d like to address this at the next council meeting,” Mateffy said. “The DNR is going to hold us up until we have this well under way. I’d still like to have the shell (for the well) in by winter.”

Royalton City Council Briefs


Other business that came before the Royalton City Council Aug. 5, included:

•Hearing a concern about his water quality from city resident Joe Kroll. Public Works Supervisor Lee Popp will conduct water pressure tests;

•Approving Popp’s participation at a one-day wastewater treatment seminar Aug. 12, for a fee of $100;

•Approving an additional expenditure of $5,850 to repair the packing on the pump for pumper 1101, the truck purchased from the city of Rice. The funds will come out of the truck and equipment fund;

•Approving a budgeted purchase of two additional self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) tanks for the Fire Department, up to $2,000. “They are phasing the replacement of all tanks year by year,” said Council Member Al Libke. “Overall we’re under budget;”

•Approving a rezone of property owned by Gary Borash at 504 N. Evergreen Street to C-1, as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Committee. “We couldn’t find a good reason for a variance, since it didn’t meet any ‘practical considerations,’” said Tim Majaski “We’ve already given him a conditional use permit, which is required under the rezoning. We think it fits very well with C-1;”

•Approving the city’s ordering of a building repair at 512 S. Cedar Street. “It’s a hazardous building with black mold infestation,” said Mayor Andrea Lauer. “Repairs will need to be made within 15 days;”

•Approving Majaski’s request for a public hearing regarding the adoption of the international rental maintenance code. “With that, an inspector can demand immediate changes,” he said. “We won’t have to go through our attorney and that will save attorney fees. The Council will still need to approve any granting or revocation of rental licenses;”

•Approving the annual renewal of liquor licenses to the following establishments: American Legion, Craig’s Sports Grill, Scottie’s Log Bar, the 10 Spot and EZ Stop;

•Listening to a report by Royalton School Board Member Jim Block describing the space needs at the schools, a recent phone survey and proposed renovations. “I understand that the smallest class at the elementary is larger than the biggest class at the high school,” said Council Member Scott Walberg;

•Approving a request for a third dog by Gary and LuAnn Deppa, for a 12-year-old dog owned by their daughter attending college;

•Approving an animal permit for three to five chickens for Scott Kalis; and

•Approving the posting of “no parking” signs on the west side of South Hawthorn Street across from the high school. The Council recommends that the signs be put up from the north side of the Knopik driveway to the south side of the Gregory driveway.

A public hearing has been set for 7:15 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 2, regarding the adoption of the international maintenance code.

The next regularly scheduled Royalton City Council meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. in the City Complex.