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Sterling wastewater, garbage rates going up

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STERLING – With an April vote comes a May wastewater rate increase.

The Sterling City Council voted Monday to approve a $1 increase in the minimum rate for wastewater service, to meet loan repayment and other costs.

The minimum basic user charge will increase May 1 from $7.85 to $8.85 a month, while the basic user rate per 100 cubic feet will increase from $2.75 to $3.10. Sewer rates are evaluated annually under a loan agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for Sterling’s sewer separation project.

The council also approved an increase in solid waste collection, from $16.76 to $17.05 a month, also effective May 1.

The city contracts with Republic Services, and a regular 2 percent increase in the fee is built in to keep up with the annual contractual increase, City Manager Scott Shumard said last year.

Budget approved

The council also voted to approve the fiscal year 2018-19 budget, which is projected to be in the black slightly.

Projected revenues are about $33.911 million, up about $228,000 from FY17, while expenditures are forecast at about $33.019 million.

In a budget information packet, Shumard and other city personnel noted Sterling’s equalized assess valuation is flat to declining, while sales tax is projected to increase about .8 percent for FY18.

Infrastructure work

In addition, members OK’d a bid of $909,467.50 from Martin and Co. Excavating from Oregon for stormwater improvements around Miller Road and Second Avenue. The work will include new inlets, new storm sewer piping, an enlarged culvert, curb, gutter, sidewalk and reconstructing Second Avenue.

The work is intended to help reduce flooding and improve drainage in the area. It will start the second week of May and be completed by the second week of August. Strand Engineering’s estimate was $948,000.

The project will be funded by Sterling’s local option sales tax for stormwater improvements, approved just over a year ago.

Cupcake law

In public comments, Shelli Eng of Erie asked the council to consider a resolution of support as she seeks to get the Whiteside County Board to pass a cupcake law, or home kitchen operation law.

Eng stopped selling her baked goods from a stand in front of her farmhouse, and next to her emeDesigns boutique on Main Street in Morrison, on March 19 after the Whiteside County Health Department told her to stop. She also had been selling items at the Morrison Farmers Market. Mayor Skip Lee said the council will review her request.

NEXT MEETING

The City Council will meet next at 6:30 p.m. May 1 at City Hall, 212 Third Ave.

Go to boarddocs.com/il/cosil/Board.nsf/ for agendas and more information.