A t0 percent increase in sewer rates was approved

On Tuesday evening, the Rocky Ford City Council interviewed three candidates for two seats available from Ward III on the City Council. Seeking the seats were Barbara Hunter, Coco Ruiz, and Bradley Pettie. After the interview, the council selected Hunter and Ruiz. City Clerk Cheryl Grasmick gave the oath of office to the two new council members.

Habitat Construction LLC of Rocky Ford was awarded the contract to replace the water main on Highway 266 east from 12th Street. Habitat was low bidder in the amount of $58,981.83. The council approved the move unanimously.

A request by Fire Chief Ray Gonzales to replace the 3004 Econoline 350 ambulance was withdrawn due to insufficient time to write an adequate grant proposal. The grant will require a 50% match from the city. The request was withdrawn until the next grant cycle.

The hearing for the new liquor license for J.R.’s Country Store was delayed until the Feb 27 meeting on the move of Councilwoman Jung, with a second from Councilman Geist.

City Ordinance #928 was approved on first reading. The ordinance will codify the one percent sales tax approved at the last election. The money will be dedicated solely to street repairs. Another resolution was adopted that, effective Feb 1, the inside the city residential and commercial sewage rate will be increased to $32.78. Outside the city limits, the rate will be $49.17. This will be $49.17 up to 6,000 gallons; in excess of that, the rate is 27 cents per thousand. The commercial rate inside the city limits will be increased by 27 cents per thousand over 6,000 also. This amounts to a 10% increase.

Steve Rabe, head of water and wastewater for Rocky Ford, commented on Friday morning: "Mayor Thompson is correct with regard to the need to increase sewer rates, the only rate increase that customers can expect from Rocky Ford in 2018.  The approved 2018 Budget, without the rate increase included, left the City with less than $11,000 in the bank at year’s end, far less than is customary for a municipal utility and surely not enough to deal with any emergencies that might occur.  As far as the effect on paying customers, in-town customers should see an increase of around $3/month, not insignificant for some, I understand, and around $5/month of customers outside of the City.  City Council considered a number of options, including an increase of a far lesser amount, but, ultimately, settled on an increase of 10% for 2018, which customers should expect to see on their upcoming billing in February. "