The city of Hallsville will move forward with investigating privatizing the city’s sewer system after the city’s residents voted yes on a ballot issue concerning the sewer.
The ballot issue passed with 68% of the vote, with 136 votes for yes and 64 votes for no. There was a 22.56% overall voter turnout Tuesday.
A new tax levy for the New Franklin School District also passed Tuesday with 71.9% of the vote in Boone County. Proposition 1 received 46 votes for yes and 18 votes for no, according to election results from the Boone County Clerk. Because Rocheport is in the New Franklin School District, votes from both Boone County and Howard County were counted in the election. The levy was approved 288-184 overall, according to KOMU.
Although the sewer issue passed in Hallsville, the city does not have to sell the system. This simply means the city will continue to explore the proposals it has received from private companies to buy the system.
After putting out a request for proposals with a deadline of Friday, the city received proposals from three different private entities: Missouri American Water, Liberty Utilities and Boone County Regional Sewer District.
Missouri American Water proposed to buy the sewer system for $2 million and invest $3.3 million in the system over the course of five years. The company would incorporate a new water treatment system and would charge an initial fixed rate of $38.75 for any amount used.
Liberty Utilities proposed to buy the system for $1.7 million and did not offer to invest any further money into management. In its proposal the company requested the city raise its rates from $19.25 to $28 for the first 1,000 gallons of usage plus $5 for any additional 1,000 gallons after that. These rates would have to be raised before the company would go through with the purchase.
Boone County Regional Sewer District, an entity separate from Boone County itself, proposed to buy the system for only $1,000 in order to get involved with further negotiations. It offered to take all of Hallsville’s customers and charge a monthly rate of $66. Although Hallsville would be given a portion of the revenue that the sewer district receives, the city would keep both its debt and its responsibility to maintain and manage the sewer system. However, this option may be altered with further negotiation, Hallsville City Administrator Kenyetta Ridgway-Sample said.
The Hallsville aldermen will review the proposals at the Nov. 20 Board of Aldermen meeting. At the meeting the aldermen will vote to have the sewer system appraised and decide when to hold public hearings for the proposals.
“The mayor and the board looks forward to having the input from the public on the next steps of the process” Ridgway-Sample said.
As a result of the vote, many residents’ rates will likely increase.
“Although I am personally disappointed as it will make some people’s sewer rates double, I’m not sure in the long run if this will be in the best interest of the citizens of Hallsville, but the citizens have spoken,” Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, and former Hallsville mayor, said.
Supervising editor is Kaleigh Feldkamp.