Wilmore City Council discusses sewer rates, sanitation services

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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In its first June meeting, the Wilmore City Council and Mayor Harold Rainwater discussed the 2023 -2024 Fiscal year budget. Primarily, the council revisited two budget items it had discussed in its last meeting regarding water and sewer water tax rates and city sanitation services.

The Council had its first reading of the budget in this meeting.

The first item for discussion was the water and sewer tax rates for Wilmore residents.

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In the past, Council would raise its water and sewer rates by two percent every year.

Due to the last census taken in 2020, Wilmore’s demographic is no longer mostly low and middle-income individuals. According to Wilmore’s Utilities Director, Dave Carlstedt, this means that the city will no longer be receiving the federal funds it typically received to assist with city services and maintenance.

As Carlstedt said in the last meeting, these taxes pay for the operations and overhead for sewer and water facilities.

The sewer and water department financial account was not in a deficit this year, but Carlstedt said that there are many necessary infrastructure maintenance projects that he and Wilmore Finance Director Lori Vahle put off to save money in the department.

Ultimately, Carlstedt said, these projects will need to be completed eventually before they become much more expensive and complex maintenance projects.

Although Carlstedt said that a five percent tax rate increase wouldn’t pay for all the city’s projects, the Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to change the rate from a two percent increase to a five percent increase for Wilmore City residents and a proportional rate increase for High Bridge and southeast county residents.

The second reading will take place at the council’s next meeting on June 20 at 6 p.m.

Carlstedt also provided an update on his inquiry into sanitation contracts.

He said that Wilmore will not be able to join the joint sanitation contract between Jessamine County and Nicholasville, so the city will have to do a bidding process to find a provider for sanitation and trash services.

The city’s ultimate goal is to stop its own sanitation services because of the financial burden it takes to offer them. More information to come at a later date.