By TESA GLASS
---- — MT. VERNON — The City Council approved a 2.4 percent increase in water and sewer rates as well as the increase for trash pickup as part of a meeting Monday to approve the new budget.
The $51.8 million budget for the city was approved, and included the water rate increase as well as the new three year contract for trash service for residents.
“This is the highest budget every approved by the city,” said City Manager Ron Neibert.
The water rate increase was discussed during four council workshops on the
budget, with the council directing the city manager to draft the ordinance increasing rates by 2.4 percent. According to information presented to the council, a family using 3,000 gallons of water per month will go from paying $44.92 to $46.27 per month for water and sewer service under the new rate The rate will enable the city to cover the rate increase from its water provider — Rend Lake Conservancy District, — and to have the funds required under the city financial policy in reserve. Under the policy, the public utilities operating fund should have $585,028; the rate increase will leave a $528,833 which will be more than $56,000 from the goal.
“We will have to implement the financial policy over the next two years,” Neibert told the council.
In addition, the council also approved an ordinance for the rates on trash and recycling pick-up by Republic Waste. A three-year contract was approved earlier this month for the company to provide trash pickup, year-round landscape waste pickup, large item pickup on Fridays when needed and bi-weekly curbside recycling.
The cost for trash service will go up to $16.49 for residents. Customers will be receiving the recycling totes within the next week, according to officials.
The budget approved on Monday covers the city fiscal year which begins on May 1.