By Barbie Porter
Vergas, with a population of about 350, is seeing excellent support of its municipal liquor store from residents and surrounding community members. The off-sale only store is set to make its third deposit of 2020 into city coffers for a total of $30,000.
The first fund transfer was for $15,000, which was followed by an additional $10,000 in November. Vergas City Clerk Julie Lammers informed the council that the store was on target with what it needed to close out the year and could transfer another $5,000. The council approved.
In addition to the $30,000 transfer, the store also purchased a new electronic sign from its profits, which cost $33,075. The sign will be the same size as the current one in front of the building.
Funds transferred from the liquor store can be used for city projects and to keep the tax levy down.
In regards to the tax levy, the budget for 2021 was approved with an overall increase of .03 percent, from $381,659 in 2020 to $381,551 in 2021. As for the general property taxes, the approved budget calls for $229,149 to be collected in 2021, compared to $228,1790 in 2020.
An overall budget breakdown will be in next week’s edition.
Increases to city
The Vergas City Council approved raising water and sewer rates, as well as connection fees during its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
The water and sewer funds are enterprise funds and must be self-sufficient, meaning the expenses must equal the income.
The Vergas Water and sewer Committee made the recommendation to make the following increases:
• Water fee base rate to $28 and a rate of $3.25 for every 1,000 gallons used. The increase raised the base rate by $1 and the gallon usage by 25 cents.
• The sewer base rate was also approved at $28 and a charge of $3.50 for every 1,000 gallons used.
• Hook up fees are now $750 for each service.
The rate increases were recommended by the sewer and water committee, which met a few times to discuss the financial hardships the enterprise funds faced with increasing maintenance needs due to the aging systems.
In addition to allowing for some maintenance expenditures during the year, the plan is to tuck money away for larger projects that are now identified in a 5-10 year capital outlay plan. The plan was put together by Vergas’ Utilities Superintendent Mike DuFrane.
DuFrane also updated the council on the water tower which needed a circuit board replaced. At a special council meeting on Nov. 20, the council approved purchasing the equipment at a cost of $19,000. DuFrane said the system is scheduled to be fixed on Dec. 18.
He also recommended the council approve a 10-year service agreement for the water tower with KLM. It was noted required cleaning and so forth were included and those expenditures are currently being done as needed, which means contracting with who is available and that can be costly at times. The KLM contract was stated to be $9,300 for 10 years, with a breakdown of $930 per year. The council approved.