Despite opposition, Buckner, MO votes to double some water, sewer bills

Posted at 9:51 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 23:40:00-04

BUCKNER, Mo. — Residents in Buckner, Missouri will soon be paying more for water and sewer.

Thursday night the Buckner Board of Alderman unanimously approved to increase resident and business water and sewer rates immediately following a public hearing, where a dozen residents voiced opposition to the increase.

"They are blaming us for bad administrative decisions for over 20 years," said Kurtis Colle, a father of four. "The fifty percent jump puts people at odds immediately."

According to city administrator Rick Childers, the city has not raised water rates since 2004 and sewer rates since 1998. Consequently, he said the city could not gradually raise the rates. 

"You have to keep rates lined up with inflation. If you don't, you will get behind. We are behind," said Childers. 

During Thursday's public meeting residents questioned previous decision made by the city, such as not using bond money.

In 2009, residents approved a $6 million bond issue that would build and maintain a new water treatment plan. The plan was estimated to cost $4.5 million. The extra $1.5 million was scheduled to be saved and used for maintenance costs.

The city never took action and Childers said to do so now would costs residents even more. 

Another issue residents questioned was the city transferring 7.5 percent of the combined water and sewer revenue fund to the General Fund, to pay for administrative costs, expenses and other fees. 

A city ordinance allows Buckner to do so. 

"The administrative general fund staff works on the payroll, insurance, all of the benefit structure for everyone so everyone should pay their fair share of that," said Colle.