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One more round and electrical, rates rise in Gothenburg

Increase to be reflected on February bills.

Because of increasing costs to provide electrical and water service to residents, rates will rise following council action on Jan. 3.

At their Dec.20 meeting, the Gothenburg City Council gave second-round approval to two different proposals that would raise rates.

A 5.7% overall retail increase in electrical rates to city customers is proposed because of a nearly 7% rise in wholesale costs of power to Gothenburg by the Nebraska Public Power District.

Water rates are proposed to go up 3%, because of the cost of business, and with $642,330 budgeted in water improvement projects, according to city administrator Bruce Clymer.

The measures will pass if approved by council members, for a third time, at their January meeting. Rates will then go into effect on Jan. 1 and be reflected on February utility bills.

Last January, city electrical rates increased 6.5%.

Clymer said he’d like to have city sewer lines, on south Lake Avenue, televised before a new pavement project begins.

Johnson Service Company of Kearney used a robotic camera to televise problem sewer areas in the city last summer and fall.

Clymer said an estimated cost of $1,800 to $2,000 to do the work would be money well spent.

He noted that a representative of Miller & Associates Consulting Engineers of Kearney, the city engineer, will attend a council meeting in January or February to discuss details of the televised sewer study already completed.

On a related issue, the council voted to pay $7,162 to Miller & Associates, who contracted with Johnson Service Company, to clean and televise the city sewer.

Council members also learned of a new bill-paying option available on the city website where customers can pay on-line. As time passes, customers who use the service, will accumulate a graphed history of their utility account and receive bills on-line.

To access the site, residents can go to www.ci.gothenburg.ne.us and click on the “Pay Bill Online” link.

In other business, the council:

approved an annual maintenance agreement with the Nebraska Department of Roads to clean state highways 47 and 30 that pass through town.

on second reading, approved a proposed law that cleans up language relating to collection of utility bills.

passed, on second reading, a proposal about submission of plans of large buildings, occupied by more 20 people, to the state fire marshal who does final inspection of such buildings.

learned that the police department received a $1,800 grant to replace two radar units in police vehicles.

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