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Industrial wastewater surcharges eliminated in Grandview

GRANDVIEW - Despite the potential loss of $44,000 in revenue, the Grandview City Council voted unanimously to remove industrial waste discharge surcharges from wastewater contracts with large industrial and commercial companies.

The surcharge had been in place since 1997 when the city enacted the fees because its wastewater treatment facility was at full capacity.

With upgrades to the city's wastewater treatment plant, it has more than enough capacity to handle increased industrial discharge, Public Works Director Cus Arteaga told the council Tuesday night.

The negotiated contracts allowed companies to dump certain amounts of wastewater into the city's system based on what they expected to generate. If a company expects to go over their allotted amount, they have to write a letter to Arteaga, he told the council.

Surcharges will still apply to industrial users who don't have contracts with the city.

"I think what it's going to do is encourage them to run more," Arteaga said of businesses in the city.

Instead of continuing to make businesses write letters to Arteaga, which he said was a little cumbersome for those businesses because they must estimate closely how much more they expect to discharge, removing those surcharges would encourage more production.

Mayor Norm Childress, who said he was playing Devil's Advocate as he often does, told the council he was a little leery about having to absorb the loss of that much money.

In 2005, the surcharges generated $44,021 for the city.

Though Childress said the city could handle the loss of revenue, he said it wouldn't necessarily be a good idea.

"I'm a little apprehensive about the $44,000," he said. "It's not the city's job to make their lives easier."

Arteaga was adamant about the fact that the surcharges were hurting the industrial sector, though the city revenue was nice, he said.

"We made a commitment to our industrial people that we would support them," he said.

The council's approval means industries will not have to pay increasing surcharges that in 2001 were 10 percent of the normal wastewater rates, and were scheduled to rise to 150 percent of the normal rates by 2019.

Arteaga told the council that if the city experiences significant losses from the removal of the surcharges, the city could look at increasing utility rates to make up that portion.

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