Warrenton raises water rates, seeks funds for expansion

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 7/25/22

The Warrenton Board of Aldermen voted unanimously on July 5 to approve a 4-percent increase to fees for water and sewer service. The small cost increases have become an annual policy as Warrenton …

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Warrenton raises water rates, seeks funds for expansion

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The Warrenton Board of Aldermen voted unanimously on July 5 to approve a 4-percent increase to fees for water and sewer service. The small cost increases have become an annual policy as Warrenton adjusts for cost inflation and continues to pursue upgrades to its water and sewer systems.

“No one likes to see their rates go up, obviously. I don’t. I’m a taxpayer. But things get more expensive every year,” commented Alderman Steven Cullom. However, he said the city is commissioning a study this year to reevaluate its current policy on water and sewer rates.

Truesdale residents are also subject to the fee increase for sewer service because Warrenton provides sewer treatment for both cities. Commercial and industrial businesses in Truesdale will see an even greater impact from the rate change because they pay increased out-of-town rates for sewer service.

The fee increases will go into effect on Aug. 1.

City officials said in March that the average residential customer would see an increase of a little more than $1 per month for sewer service, and a little less than $1 per month for water service. In-town businesses will see an average increase between $3-$4 per month for water and sewer, although that number can have a wide variance based on how much water a business uses.

City officials have previously explained that annual rate increases serve two main purposes. Firstly, it accounts for gradual inflation in the cost of staffing and materials to operate and maintain the city’s utilities. Secondly, it provides funding to repay Warrenton’s debt on millions of dollars in bonds that city voters approved in 2014 to pay for vast upgrades to the city’s sewer mains and wastewater treatment plant.

Seeking grant for new upgrades

Warrenton is also asking the Missouri state government to provide an infusion of cash to help pay for water system expansion in the area around the city’s western I-70 interchange. The city hopes to make the land around the newer interchange appealing for commercial development by ensuring there’s adequate road access and utilities.

To help bring more water capacity to the area, City Director of Operations Jon Struckhoff said Warrenton is applying for a portion of federal COVID relief funds granted to the state of Missouri. The state has designated some of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds toward water and sewer improvement grants for local cities.

“We’ll be applying for the grant to cover the cost of construction for this water main,” Struckhoff explained to Warrenton aldermen on July 5. “We will be replacing some 4-inch and 2-inch water main along West Booneslick Road, from SAF-Holland to Veterans Memorial Parkway near Rural King.”

Grant applications were due by July 14. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources plans to award grant funding by mid-October.

Warrenton Board of Aldermen, Water, Sewer, Fee, Rates

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