The City Council in Pierce City approved higher water rates at the March monthly meeting.
aldermen approved a new water rate schedule that will raise the base price to $13 for 1,000 gallons of water from its current $10.95. For each additional 1,000 gallons of water, the price would be $3 instead of the current rate of $2.
Based on a 5,000-gallon-per-month usage, a customer would see their water bill increase from $18.95 to $25.
For those receiving water service outside the city limits, the current base rate of $20.95 would increase to $25. For each additional 1,000 gallons, customers would pay $3.50 as opposed to the current rate of $2.50.
Sewer rates would will also raise from a base rate of $13.75 to $16 per month.
Swimming pool plans
The Pierce City Municipal Pool will open for the summer season on June 4. Gordon Brown, executive director of the Monett Area YMCA, which manages the facility, told aldermen hours of operation would afternoons on Monday through Friday. Saturday hours will be from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday hours are scheduled for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost of the pool operation will be $5,500 for the season. The YMCA will provide a supervisor, lifeguards, swim instruction, concessions, cleaning and testing of the pool and water, liability insurance, pool chemicals, program supplies, promotion and administrative service.
Admittance costs will be $3 for an open swim or free to YMCA members; $70 for an individual season pass; $175 for a family season pass; $50 for swim lessons; $40 pool rentals for one hour and up to 50 people; $25 for water aerobics, free to YMCA members; and financial assistance for pool passes and YMCA membership for those who qualify.
YMCA members may also use both Monett and Cassville municipal pools at no charge. Payments may be made in installments.
Brown said at the time of the meeting, the Pierce City R-6 School District had not indicated if there will be a summer school program that utilizes the facility. If the district decideds to hold a summer session, Superintendent Dr. Aaron Cornman issued his assurance that the district would not need the facility until after it opens on June 4.
Police car issues
Pierce City Police Chief Mike Abramovitz reported that one of the patrol vehicles had been sent to the shop for brake work.
Mayor Allen Stockton said he was still hoping to purchase a low-mileage used state vehicle for the department.
"These patrol cars are just nickle and diming us to death," Stockton said. "We really need to look into doing something."
Stockton said the public service department had been too busy with water leaks for the month to focus much efforts on streets.
"All the leaks except one have been fixed and we have to be bonded to dig into a state highway," Stockton said. "It's a [Missouri Department of Transportation] rule."
Stockton also said the pool tanks were out of the ground at the city pool, and had to be cut down further in order to fit on a truck to be scrapped.
A local volunteer, J.B. Chapman, has performed much of the labor on cutting the tanks to be hauled off.
"He has saved the city about $2,500," Stockton said.
Stockton told aldermen that the wastewater treatment plant has been subject to a surprise inspection by the Department of Natural Resources.
"[Greg] Perkins said this was the best the operation had looked in years," Stockton said.
Fire Department work
Pierce City Fire Chief Andy Hogenmiller reported that the department was ready for a concrete pad to be poured for a generator. Hogenmiller said he already had people to move and wire the unit once it was in place at the department.
A chain link fence has been donated to the department to secure the unit once it has been installed.
"I feel it is necessary to have the generator at the fire station and storm shelter," Stockton said "When we have something like that, we have people with oxygen tanks and other medical issues, electricity is necessary."
Hogenmiller asked aldermen for clarification on the issue of pets being brought to the shelter.
"Service animals," answered Julie Johnson, city clerk. "We'll have to look into that."
Area residents had previously been allowed to shelter their pets in a separate area from the storm shelter at the fire station.
Aldermen then heard a zoning variance request from Melody Fisher, a Pierce City residents who wants to run a small tax service and accounting business from a small office building on her property.
Aldermen discussed the matter at length, finally choosing to table the issue until April so research could be made on the process of obtaining a special use permit.
City Attorney Darlene Parrigon will look into the requirements to obtain a special use permit and advise the council on her findings.
Aldermen reviewed and approved the proposed fiscal year budget 2012-13, which will see all city employees receiving a 2 percent raise across the board.
Johnson advised aldermen that auto-draft services were now available for utilities customers wishing to have their water bills paid automatically through their bank accounts.
"The system is up and running," Johnson said. "When the bills are printed, they will say 'do not pay,' and the amount will be automatically deducted from their accounts on the 10th."
The next regular meeting of the Pierce City Board of Aldermen will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 9 at City Hall.