PRINCETON — Princeton Common Council unanimously approved a new sewer rate ordinance Monday which increases rates by about a dollar per thousand gallons, in two phases over the next two years.
The action came following a public hearing, where some out-of-town water customers questioned whether it applied to them.
The ordinance, which follows the recommendations of a rate study completed by the city’s financial consulting firm, Baker Tilly, increases rates from $5.76 per thousand gallons to $6 per thousand gallons in January 2021, and to $6.75 per thousand gallons in January 2022.
Several Princeton water customers who don’t live within city limits questioned whether it applied to them, and City Attorney James McDonald said the ordinance applies to people who live within the city’s corporate limits, and to anyone who is connected to the city’s sanitary sewer system.
Customers who have city water but aren’t connected to the sewer system are not subject to the sewer rate increase.
McDonald also updated the council on progress toward a voluntary annexation of property along the 2nd Avenue corridor south of Princeton.
He said a petition to be annex has been signed by some large property owners (300 acres or so) in that area, and he anticipates finalizing the petition and boundary lines of the proposed new corporate limits in time for the next meeting Sept. 21.
An invitation was extended to residents in the Poplar Hills area, with mixed reception, so McDonald said that area would not be included. “It’s not feasible to do the other neighborhoods other than the large land tracts along 2nd Avenue, south to McCarty Road,” he reported.
“I wish more people had wanted to come in, in the Poplar Hills area,” Council President Sheri Greene remarked, but noted in a voluntary annexation, “it’s got to be all or nothing.”
The council authorized McDonald to contact with surveyor Kevin Hennessy and to use Baker Tilly for financial impact consulting on the proposed annexation.
Council members asked Baker Tilly consultants to look at the cost-savings if the city refinances redevelopment bonds of 2013 and 2016.
According to a preliminary report, the city could save as much as $15,000 to $20,000 per year over the next 12 years in interest payments if the 2013 redevelopment bond were refinanced, for a net savings of $200,000.
A shorter-term 2016 redevelopment authority bond might also be folded into the refinance if the savings makes it feasible.
Council members asked consultants to further explore the potential savings.
In other business
• During Monday’s Princeton Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, members accepted a low bid of $39,500 from Naas and Sons to solve drainage issues on city property under the Brumfield overpass.
Funds are allocated in the city’s economic development income tax budget for improving the overpass. Last month, Street Department Supervisor Clinton Smith said the southeast section has water drainage issues that prevent city crews from mowing or maintaining the property.
• During the council meeting, councilman Bill Tuley suggested color-coding municipal work trucks or to add a department name under the seal to more clearly identify the vehicles. Mayor Greg Wright said he would discuss the issue with department heads.
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