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Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 3:19 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 5:05 p.m. CST

PRINCETON – The Princeton City Council has approved ordinances which will decrease electric utility costs for most customers while increasing costs for garbage and sewer services.

At this week’s meeting, the council unanimously approved an ordinance to raise the solid waste collection rate from $9.50 to $10.50 per month within the city limits and from $19 to $21 per month outside the city limits. This ordinance will take effect on the first bill generated after Dec. 31.

The council also unanimously approved an ordinance to set basic sewer rates at $5 per 100 cubic feet of water usage. Currently, city customers pay $4.05 per 100 cubic feet. The same rate increase would apply to customers both inside and outside the city limits. Users of the city’s wastewater treatment facilities who are not water users of the city will be charged $28 per month for billings on and after Sept. 1.

Also, sewer customers will now have a new service charge of $11 per month. Currently, sewer customers are paying a service charge ranging from $4.75 to $10.75. The new service charge and usage fee rate start in September.

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, the combination of the usage rate increase and the service charge increase is projected to net an additional $430,000 in sewer revenue, which will be used for sewer line upgrades.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the council approved an ordinance which would decrease expenses for electric customers. In a three-fold expense savings, the council agreed a previously approved rate increase will not be implemented; the electric service charge will be decreased by $5 for most customers; and all churches will be exempt from the demand charge for electric use.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Farnsworth Group engineer Shawn Mauer gave an overview of the recently completed study into problems with the city’s sanitary sewer system, specially at the Princeton Metro Center and Euclid Avenue/Dover Road areas of town.

The council had hired Farnsworth Group to do the study after the April 17-18 rains which caused flooding in several areas of town, when about 6.5 inches of rain fell during an 18-hour period.

The Farnsworth Group study made the following recommendation for the city to consider:

• Continue with a smoke testing program to determine problem areas and to put money into the budget for the smoke testing.

• Continue televising sewer lines with the idea the city can plan for future replacement or rehabilitation projects.

• Provide additional storm inlets at the Euclid Avenue/Dover Road area, which would be a good first step in that area.

• Implement a sump pump and downspout disconnection program.

• Update the city’s sanitary/storm sewer system maps, so they are current and more usable.

• Investigate the hydraulics of the wastewater treatment plant overflow and pumping capacity. A wet weather detention basin may be necessary.

After the presentation, Mayor Keith Cain said he thinks things flow well until they reach the wastewater treatment plant, and that’s where the backup occurs. The city needs to figure out a way to get relief to the plant once the water gets there, he said.

The council also heard from resident Esther Tracy who lives in Greencroft who talked about problems she and her neighbors have had with their homes after heavy rains.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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