By TESA GLASS
---- — MT. VERNON — The city council passed a 3 percent water/sewer increase as well as its 2013-14 fiscal year budget."The increase is to cover the operations deficit to to increases in operations of the department and to keep the working fund balance in line with the city fiscal policies," said City Manager Ron Neibert. Under terms of the ordinance, which will go into effect on Wednesday, the first 2,000 gallons of water will have a rate of $12.45 minimum charge; the next 2,000 gallons will be $8.39 per 1,000 gallons; the next 11,000 gallons will be $749 per 1,000 gallons; the next 35,000 gallons will be $6.95 per 1,000 gallons; the next 100,000 gallons will be $4.65 per 1,000 gallons; the next 300,000 gallons will be $4.08 per 1,000 gallons; and 500,000 gallons or more will be charged $3.45 per 1,000 gallons. "The rate for bulk sales of water not made through metered sources to one purchaser shall be 25 cents per 32 gallons," the proposed ordinance states. "Whenever water is supplied to premises outside of the corporate limits of the city, the rates charged shall be a minimum of $22.44 for the first 2,000 gallons and thereafter shall be 130 percent times the rates set forth."In addition to the rate increase, the city approved its budget for the fiscal year. The working fund balance for general fund operations was projected to be $3.043 million on April 30, 2014. with total expenditures at $14.65 million."We have proposed a deficit in operations of $611,135 for the year ended April 30, 2014, which is mostly attributable to a projected decline from the fiscal year ended April 30, 2012, in our two highest sources of revenue, 1 percent state sales tax and 1 percent Home Rule Sales Tax, of $379,000 each year," Neibert stated. "We feel that this decline is due to the road construction being done on the interstate at our exit and is temporary. We will have to use our working fund balance reserves to fund this deficit. Even after this deficit, we still have $1,821,833 excess working fund balance over the amount necessary stated in our Financial Policy of $1,221,286, which is one month's worth of operating expenditures."General Corporate Capital projects will amount to $3.1 million in spending for the city budget. "Our 20-year, $9,085,000 general obligation bond issue that closed in September 2010 was allocated 26 percent to the general corporate fund and 74 percent to the public utilities fund based on the expected use of the proceeds," information from Neibert and City Finance Director Merle Hollmann states. "The general corporate portion was transferred to the general corporate capital projects fund. We will adjust these percentages once the total expenditures from the bond proceeds have been incurred. The city issued $36 million in general obligation bonds in October 2012, of which 35 percent has been allocated to the capital projects fund. We are projecting a working fund balance at April 30, 2014, of $11,569,863."