HMU officials tackle revenue issues


May 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Harlan Municipal Utilities Board of Trustees reached an agreement Thursday night on how to increase HMU’s water utility revenue. In a tough but necessary decision, the board had to decide on how to increase the water utility revenue by 27 percent or $379,317 annually. Chief Executive Officer Tom Gaffigan says the increase is all for the state revolving fund for the Water Treatment Plant. He says the difficult part was figuring out how to fairly distribute the cost. Gaffigan presented the board with 8 options. After much discussion from all the board members, the board voted on Option #6, which was to assign 50 percent of the required revenue adjustment to the service charge or separate bill line item special charge and the remaining 50 percent of the required revenue adjustment to the commodity charge. Essentially, Gaffigan says this will evenly divide the needed $379,317.

He says half that amount, $189,658.50 will be obtained by increasing everybody’s water rates.  It won’t be a service charge though. It will simply be a line item on the bill. The separate bill line item charge will be a monthly charge of $6.55 per customer. The charge will be introduced to customers on July 1st, 2012. The other half of the money will come from the Commodity charge. Whereas the line item of $6.55 per month will go directly to the new wastewater treatment plant, the Commodity charge is what residents and businesses pay per gallon of water. The costs will be spread over all customer classifications. It reflects what others use in water, so it becomes clear everyone is paying their fair share. 

The Harlan Municipal Utilities Board also adopted resolution number 60. The resolution was to approve the new service rules of the municipal gas utility. Gaffigan explained in the meeting the service rules are rules and regulations to meet existing federal guidelines and not a rate or cost increase. After a few quick updates on the Water Treatment Plant and the Operations Center, the Board then went into a closed meeting to discuss the new CEO candidate. Once the closed session was over, the HMU board approved Darrell Wenzel as the new Chief Executive Officer for Harlan Municipal Utilities. Wenzel will take over for the retiring Gaffigan, who says his replacement is well qualified for the job. Wenzel begins in his new position on Monday, May 21st.

(courtesy Joel McCall/KNOD)