Electric rates went up this month as the Hebron City Council set about business in the first meeting of 2011.
City leaders knew a wholesale hike was coming at the first of the year three months ago and have been preparing for it since. Hebron electric rates will increase by six percent for the next billing cycle.
The last increase was in July of 2010 when city officials realized absorbing the January 2010 wholesale increase was causing a hardship on the city-owned business. City utility manager Merv White told officials in July the city was hit with six percent increases by both NPPD and Norris in January 2010. (NPPD sells the city electricity at wholesale prices; Norris charges for use of their lines or what is called a “wheeling” charge.) He told officials they really needed to discuss rate increases before the first of the year, before wholesale prices went up, so the city-owned utility didn’t get so far behind. The City’s July increase helped ease the hardship, but another wholesale increase hit in January 2011.
Since last September the board has been preparing for the current increase. The new prices will take effect immediately.
For residential customers within the city limits, lighting and heating will cost .0986 per kw (kilowatt) for the first 750 kws and .0583 cents per kw over that in the winter. In the summer the charges are .0996/kw for the first 750 kw and .0922/kw over that. (Summer rates run May through September)
Rural residents can expect to pay .1049/kw for the first 750 kws and .0594/kw over that in the winter and .1049/kw for the first 750 kws and .0837/kw over that in the summer.
Customers also have service charge fees of $6 (city) and $8 (rural).
For commercial rates within the city limits, customers can expect to pay .0986/kwh for the first 750 kws, .0601/kwh for 750-2500 kws and .0583/kwh over 2500 kws in the winter. In the summer, rates include .0996/kwh for the first 750 kws, .0989 for 750-2500 kws and .0978/kwh over 2500 kws. Commercial customers also have a $9 service charge.
A complete list of all charges, including commercial rates outside the city limits and all industrial rates, is kept on file at the Hebron City Office.
In other business, the Council discussed a lengthy list of nuisance properties including the Frank Calloway property located between 4th and 5th Streets in south Hebron and the property at 415 N. 2nd St., owned by Glen Anderson; both Calloway and Anderson were present at the meeting.
In September, Anderson was sent a letter stating his property was considered a nuisance and needed to be cleaned up.
In December, neighbors complained about rats and starving dogs on the property and during that meeting it was also noted that the Council had not heard from him about cleaning up the property. The Council determined to send a second letter stating the City would contract someone to clean it up and would charge the cost to him.
At his appearance on Jan. 6, Anderson said he approached the City about purchasing his property back in September when he received the first letter which meant they had, in fact, heard from him. Council president Larry Fangmeier acknowledged that fact and said he remembered talking to Anderson about the possible sale of the property to the City. Fangmeier was filling in as mayor at the time of the conversation.
At the January meeting Anderson said he had made some improvements to the property in the way of clean-up, i.e., filling holes and organizing some of the debris into piles and invited incoming mayor Shane Day to take a look at the improvements. Mayor Day said he would be happy to visit Anderson’s property and, along with council members Rich Koch and Jay Bauer agreed to meet with Anderson the next morning to view the property.
Mayor Day, contacted later in the week following the viewing, said the City will discuss purchase of the Anderson property at the February meeting.
Following the Jan. 3 meeting and outside of Council chambers, Anderson said he was upset that his neighbors felt compelled to water and feed his two German Shepherd dogs that are housed on the property because they thought the animals were starving. He produced papers from a Fairbury veterinarian stating the animals were in perfect health. “I have automatic feeders and the food I feed them is a high quality mixture,” he said. “Those people should have never come on my property in the first place, and who knows what they fed to the dogs. They were trespassing. Everyone knows it was trespassing.”
Anderson said he posted ‘no trespassing’ signs after he found out about the neighbors.
The veterinary papers were dated Dec. 11, 2010, five days after the neighbors complained. Anderson, who is in his seventies, added that he has worked around livestock all his life and knows how to care for animals. “I would never let an animal starve,” he said.
In the case of the Calloway property, the council felt the owner was making progress in that the house was recently burned, but felt concern that nothing else had taken place. Calloway said he would be removing iron soon and he had lined someone up to remove the ashes from the burned house.
Council members agreed to send notice to other nuisance property owners they have not heard from that they will begin seeking contractors to clean up the properties. Property owners will be responsible for the cost of clean-up.