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Mitchell City Council to consider increasing sewer rates to help fund major infrastructure projects

Monthly base rates for city sewer users would increase to $22.01, marking a $2 increase from the current $20.01 monthly rate for 5,000 gallon per month users.

City of Mitchell workers lay down sewer drainage pipes along Pheasant Street in this 2015 photo in Mitchell. Wastewater projects are a priority for municipalities around South Dakota, but paying for them has proven to be much tougher. (Republic file photo)
City of Mitchell workers lay down sewer drainage pipes along Pheasant Street in this 2015 photo in Mitchell. Wastewater projects are a priority for municipalities around South Dakota, but paying for them has proven to be much tougher.
Republic
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Mitchell residents could soon see a 10% increase in sewer rates, as the Mitchell City Council will consider approving a resolution on Monday to raise sewer rates.

The proposed sewer rate increase that’s on the table for Monday’s 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall would raise the monthly base to $22.01, marking a $2 increase from the current $20.01 monthly rate. In addition, the council will consider increasing the per unit charge for sewer rates by 29 cents.

Breaking down the sewer rate increase further, a resident using 5,000 gallons of sewer per month would have a monthly bill of $44.68.

The sewer rate increase is a move to help fund the estimated $18 million improvement project to the north wastewater treatment plant and bringing over $1 million in utility improvements along the west side of Lake Mitchell. Both projects — the north wastewater treatment plant and Livesay utility improvements — have come into focus over the past couple of years, as city leaders say they will bring critical improvements to vital infrastructure.

According to Public Works Director Joe Schroeder, the North wastewater treatment plant — which was constructed in 1970 — is a critical facility that’s in “serious need” of upgrades.

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The north wastewater treatment plant — located at 2141 E. Havens Ave. — is where crews remove contaminants from wastewater or sewage, which allows it to be returned to the water cycle with minimum environmental impact.

As part of the project, Schroeder said a new headworks building would be constructed. The headworks building would be equipped with new screening and grit removal equipment used to treat wastewater.

As part of the project, a new equalization base would also be built, which Schroeder has noted will help avoid having to discharge water from severe rain events into nearby Firesteel Creek.

Raising water rates have also been mulled over among city officials over the past year. While the monthly base rate for water rates increased 54% in 2021 to $9.21, a rough outline of future water rates for Mitchell residents using 5,000 gallons per month shows a proposed base rate increase of $19.32 by 2026.

The proposed 2026 water rates that would double the monthly base rate from the existing is merely a rough outline for future water rates, which would be subject to approval and could change.

Consent agenda

The following items will be considered as part of the consent agenda:

  • Approve the minutes and reports from the following meetings: July 18 City Council meeting; July 11 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting; June 21 Library Board meeting.
  • Approve automatic supplement in the amount of $535 from insurance proceeds. 
  • Approve the following raffle permit: Dakota Wesleyan University football with the drawing to be held at each home game this season. 
  • Approve special event application for Grace Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School Family Night on Aug. 12.
  • Approve special event application for Oct. 1, 2022, DWU Blue and White Days Parade in downtown Mitchell.
  • Set the date for the following alcohol license applications: Aug. 15, an application to transfer RB-26966 retail (on-off sale) malt beverage and SD farm and wine license from Bathke Properties, located at 1101 E. Havens Ave., to Lucky Clovers LLC, located at 1101 E. Havens Ave. (license does include video lottery); An application to transfer RB-26967 retail (on-off sale) malt beverage and SD farm and wine license from Bathke Properties, located at 1101 E. Havens Ave., to Lucky Clovers LLC, located at 1101 E. Havens Ave. (license does include video lottery.
  • Approve Aug. 1 pay estimates.
  • Approve bills, payroll, salary adjustments, new employee hires, authorization of recurring payments and other expenses.

Other business

  • Recite pledge of allegiance and receive invocation from First United Methodist Church.
  • Approve consent agenda and hear citizens input.
  • Meet as Board of Adjustment.
  • Hold hearing on Vander Hamm Motorsports’ application for a conditional use permit to operate an Automotive Repair Services facility; located at 2951 S. Rowley St., legally described as Lot 11 of Iverson’s Addition in the southeast quarter of Section 33, township 103 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian, in Davison County. The property is zoned a UD Urban Development District; Hold hearing on Ethan Co-op Lumber’s application for Darwin and Pat Kreth, who have applied for a variance for  a combination of attached and detached accessory buildings of 3,036 square feet vs. 1,050 square feet to build a new detached accessory building of 1,656 square feet, located at 2709 Mentzer Court, legally described as Lots 5 and 6, Block 3, Woodland Heights First Addition, in the city of Mitchell. The property is zoned Woodland Heights Planned Development District.
  • Reconvene as city council.
  • Approve Phase I engineering work for South Lake Estates housing development with SPN and Associates.
  • Approve Agreement No. A2022-30, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources grant for the north wastewater treatment plant improvement project.
  • Approve resolution to plat lots 3, 4 and 5 of CJM Consulting’s third addition. 
  • Approve resolution No. R2022-48, plat of Kelley tracts 1A and 2.
  • Approve resolution to submit an application for a tire recycling grant with DANR.
  • Declare acres of former Kelley property as surplus to authorize the sale of the property that recently saw an offer of $1.5 million. The surplus declaration will also allow a team of appraisers to appraise the property. 
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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