At its last meeting in September, the Hamilton City Council approved increases to the monthly base rate charge and usage charge for both water and wastewater. Each will increase by 2.4%. The new rates became effective on September 25.
Public Works Director Donny Ramer stated in a memo that small incremental increases in the water and sewer rates on a regular basis were preferable to putting off any rate increases until a large increase was required to meet the rising costs involved in the services. He said the Public Works Department was working on replacement projects throughout the water and sewer systems to try and minimize the long-term maintenance and operation costs. He said the cost of these projects continues to go up and if put off will become more expensive down the road.
According to Finance Officer Craig Shepherd, the Cost of Living rate hikes will generate an additional water usage revenue of $13,349 and additional base rate revenue of $18,169 for a total increase in charges of $31,518. Sewer usage with a COLA increase will add $11,272 in additional revenue and the increase in the base rate will generate an additional $16,414 for a total increase of $27,686.
The council approved the annexation of a 69.96 acre parcel located along the river south of River Park and changed the property’s zoning classification to Public Institutional. The land was purchased by the Bitterroot Land Trust with the intention of adding it to the city’s system of public parks.
City Planner Matthew Rohrbach told the council that the goal of the zoning change and annexation was to transfer the land to the city’s park system as a natural park. Some improvements are planned to improve access and use of the area by installing a fenced driveway into a parking area, a toilet, a bridge over the ditch for non-motorized access and some signage.
The approval of the annexation and zoning change are conditioned on adoption of an agreement on the best manner of incorporating the area into the city’s park system without a conservation easement as was used in the case of Steve Powell Park and a management plan for maintaining and operating the park as a natural area.
The vote to approve the annexation and zoning change was unanimous.
The council also passed a resolution establishing Residential Only Parking areas in the 700 block of South 4th Street and the 300 block of Baker Street.
The council awarded a contract to Nelson Tree Service for tree removal and pruning. The cost of the contract is capped at $24,990 and is covered by a 2018 DNRC Urban Forestry grant.
The council also approved the installation of Little Free Libraries in the city’s parks.
The meeting date for the regularly scheduled council meeting for November 5 was changed to take place on Monday, November 4 due to a conflict.