Elmwood faces budget crisisThe Elmwood Village Board earlier this month began the long preparation for a new sewer plant scheduled to begin construction in two-to-three years.
By: Sari Gordon , Pierce County Herald
ELMWOOD—The Elmwood Village Board earlier this month began the long preparation for a new sewer plant scheduled to begin construction in two-to-three years.
One of the requirements for funding eligibility is a healthy budget, with a positive balance in all accounts. The village wastewater budget is currently $37,000 in the red and has been borrowing from the general fund for the past four years to cover the shortfall.
For the past 20 years, the sewer has run at a deficit. Sewer rates have been raised only gradually, to lessen the impact on residents, despite the sizable difference between income and costs to run the sewer system.
The Rural Development Agency is aware of efforts to catch up, but the last increase was three years ago and the break-even point is still not forthcoming.
A sewer rate increase of $13 to $18 a month and a volume charge from $5.02 to $5.17 would give the village a chance at catching up and being able to pay for a much-needed wastewater treatment system. A water rate change of 3.2 percent would mean the volume charge would change from $3.13 to $3.22 per 1,000 gallons and only be a $.54 increase for the average residence.
The board voted to approve motions to change the sewer and water rates.
Trustee Brian Buck gave details of the most critical item facing the village: the 2013 budget.
“Everything is on the table,” said Buck, who warned of several upcoming issues.
The squad car needs to be replaced, the auditorium needs $19,000 in repairs, public works has several major projects and planned road improvements by the state mean major associated costs for the village.
For more please read the Nov. 28 print version of the Herald.