Water map

The blue lines in the

above map show the 157 miles of water mains beneath the streets of Emporia.

Emporia residents will see an 11 percent increase in their utility bills next year once the city’s 2020 budget is finalized in the coming weeks.

The increase would amount to an additional $6 each month for a household using 5,000 gallons per month.

Mayor Jon Geitz said the increase is necessary to help offset the costs of improvements for Emporia’s water, sewer and trash facilities.

“Unfortunately, a big portion of rate increases every year has been the wastewater treatment plan,” Geitz said. “Unfortunately, again, the city commission had very little choice but to comply with federal regulations. The cost of complying with those regulations was a generational update to our wastewater treatment plant.”

Geitz said investments in the water treatment plant have also been expensive, with improvements coming with multi-million dollar price tags.

“Any time there is infrastructure, it is seven-, sometimes eight-figure investments the city’s making and unfortunately, as the consumers of those services, the cost of those services goes up and the price of services goes up as well,” he said.

Geitz said he and the other commissioners do not take those increases lightly, but emphasized they were required in order to keep the city’s utilities operational.

“Our water fund is actually below policy on reserve for the next couple of years,” he said. “The commission is comfortable with that because, over time, the trends show it will go back over that. That’s one of those things where the five-year budget process has really helped.”

Geitz said, overall, he was pleased with the city’s projected budget, which will keep the mill levy flat in the coming year.

“The city is able to fund its priorities,” he said. “Public safety, streets, things like that, but also the cost of maintaining our utility funds is going up every year. Unfortunately our citizens will notice an increase on their city bills. ... The city’s expenses go up annually, and it’s been a goal of the commission the last few years to make sure that we can do better projecting of the future costs of providing our services so we don’t have huge jumps one year. To me, that’s some progress that we’ve made on the budget — to make sure the services we provide are adequately funded.”

A public hearing on the 2020 budget will be held at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 7 in the Municipal Courtroom during the commission’s next action session.

(7) comments

KB Thomas

Thank goodness we are not on water smart meters, review Videos by Alex Jones on smart meters.

booker5m

City needs stop giving their buddies the sweetheart deals. The paved the the alley for one guy and yet we couldn't get a street fixed. The excuse was this gets them to invest in the city, They are going to build anyway! City big boys invest in a business that will bring industries. The are industries begging for places to build in and do we invest apartments. Think people! When the last time we got a major industry? Yet towns around us get jobs. We need new and better blood downtown!

KB Thomas

Commissioner Mr. G is getting a tax Abatement on property at 6th and Prairie as he just pays 5% of property tax for 5 years and then only 50% for next 5 years because property is in Neighborhood Revitalization District. Years ago Walgreens wanted this corner but city would not move the storm sewer which runs diagonally across the property and while I was singing karaoke at the American Legion in McPherson,Kansas I met the franchise owner of Wendy's and he said he would give 500,000 for the corner. However at that time I was told city would not move storm sewer. Now I understand they being the city will stand the cost. If this is true, I think this might be considered a sweet heart political deal. I heard on the street that this is true. The city manager should clear this up. I have always liked Mr. G but if the city is standing the cost he might be washed up politically. With his tax abatement and an increase in water rates, this to me is a form of corporate fascism.

KB Thomas

The problem is no problem and I will tell you why. I don't give a darn about the budget as sometimes my budget get's out of whack so I go to my Savings. The City of Emporia has funds invested in the stock market which has gone up 50% in recent years. Please review The CAFR Swindle The Biggest game in town video and then review The Biggest Game In Town about the Government CAFR Wealth Shell game in town. This is a tool hidden from the public although it is on line, but I believe it has never in 50 years been printed in our local paper and what about an audit? Some reports say these Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports woulld make Barny Madoff proud. I hope the Commissioners will do the right thing by the public because we have already had an increase in water rates this year as people working on minimum wage had one hours pay go to increase in water rates and people on social security had to eat the increase. If the city does not have a reserve of cash, then I call this gross mismanagement and should be investigated starting with the Lyon County Treasure exposing all tax abatements for Real Estate properties.

booker5m

Too much of a increase. Time city boys learn to better job of not spending our money. Why do voters keep putting these type of spenders in office. Voters believe what ever they ate told wake up people.

EuthanizeEmporia

11%...wow. How many of you saw an 11% raise in your paychecks this year? Mine didn't even offset the 2.44% inflation rate of 2018. Lots of "unfortunately's" from Mr. Geitz. It's unfortunate that he feels like the City's priorities (streets) are funded- has he not driven down 15th lately...or any street in Emporia?

SnowGypsy

The city should operate just like the homes in their city, when you have an "extra" expense come up, many citizens have to cut back in some other area. I didn't see anything about looking at that. Where the heck does all the money go here? I don't see improvements made. I suspect the problem is administrative salaries, so that would be the first place to look for some reductions. Private businesses have to operate like that too looking for ways to cut expenses, and there is no reason the city can't do something similar!

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