Change in sewer rates not approved at Evart City Council meeting

EVART — A motion to increase sewer rates in Evart failed with the council split 2-2 at Monday’s meeting.

In the absence of Mayor Eric Schmidt, Mayor Pro Tem Casey Keysor ran the meeting.

Keysor motioned to keep the water rates the same, along with keeping the meter fee for the sewer at $12. He proposed an increase from $4.19 to $4.67 per thousand gallons for sewer.

“This is just sewer,” Keysor said. “Water would stay the same at $5 per month and $1.09 per thousand gallons … There’s a ready to serve fee that pays for the pipe in the ground and that’s going to stay at $17 ($5 for water and $12 for sewer).”

City Manager Zack Szakacs further clarified the only thing that would change would be the cost per thousand gallons, but councilmembers Ralph Carlson and Charlie Walter voted against adopting the new rates.

In other news, the council reset fees for renting pavilions in Riverside Park.

The two older pavilions in Riverside West were charging $60, with $20 of that being a deposit. The new rates for those pavilions are $50 for city residents, with no deposit and a $75 fee for non-residents.

The brand new, full-service pavilion at Riverside East will charge $75 for city residents and $100 for non-residents to rent the building.

“There are restrooms, showers, drinking fountains and it’s all self-contained,” Szakacs said. “.. the average for a pavilion like this across the state of Michigan is $132 and some of those charge by the hour or for a half day.”

The council also discussed the law ordinance and looking into amending it in the future.

The ordinance states there is $100 fine for the civil infraction if ticketed for violating the ordinance, plus an added cost not to exceed $100 for having the city cut the lawn.

City Attorney Jim White explained that is for the first offense. On the second offense the fine is $200 for the infraction, but the bill to mow the grass still cannot exceed $100.

Department of Public Works Director Buck Vallad said the $100 cost should be adjusted.

“Buck is saying it costs more than $100 to mow some of these lawns and if that’s the case you may need to revisit the ordinance,” White said. “I think the penalties are OK, but the cost portion may want to be increased.”