By Beth Bily
Although no city official relishes raising taxes, fees or rates, officials in Keewatin upped the charges for city utilities at last week’s council meeting.
Mayor Bill King told those in attendance that raising utility rates was a must for the city that has, in some cases, 100-year-old water/sewer infrastructure with high maintenance needs and costs.
King said he hopes that ongoing talks on a joint wastewater facility with the city of Nashwauk and surrounding townships will eventually yield positive results for city residents. “We’re hoping to see the annual cost for our wastewater decrease rather than increase,” he said.
Meanwhile, councilors opted to increase rates for 2018 as follows: refuse rates will increase by 50 cents; sewer charges will increase by $2 and water rates by $1; and, electricity will go up by 1 cent per kWh.
In other business, the council:
• Reorganized for 2018, designating service providers for the coming year and making numerous appointments to official city committees and boards.
• Approved the minutes of the Dec. 27 regular meeting.
• Approved end of the year reports.
• Tabled a discussion on drug testing policy for casual laborers to the Feb. 14 council meeting.
• Approved a payment for the city’s fireworks for this year in the amount of $6,000.
• Authorized Susan Thronson to attend the annual regional meeting of the MFCOA in Bloomington March 20-23.
• Passed a resolution designating the city’s community center as the official polling place for 2018.
• Renewed a resolution allowing the city to reimburse itself for any bond money received for wastewater treatment facility.
• Approved transfer of an $8/month service charge to city street fund.
• Approved the IRS mileage reimbursement rate for 2018 of 54.5 cents per mile.