The Buffalo City Council, on a 3-2 vote, approved on second reading Ordinance No. 1360 which will increase sewer rates 100% across the board to all users, but the issue has become dividing one among the council members.
The increase has become necessary to pay for loans from the construction of the waste water treatment plant a couple of years ago.
Current residential sewer rates are $10.30 per month and the proposed increase will bump that up to $20.60 per month.
City officials secured funding from the state in grants and loans for the nearly $13 million project but have an outstanding loan of $2.7 million that must be paid back.
Although the council has said they don't want to pass on a rate increase, so far there hasn't been a legitimate alternative found to the rate increase.
Councilman Dave Long brought figures and scenarios that may or may not offset a 100% increase in rates, but the council was willing to look at the figures to see if a possible solution could be found.
The council found themselves at odds when Russ Humphrey made a motion to table the rate increase until they could study Councilman Long's figures. Long seconded the motion and the vote was 3-2 against tabling the issue.
Councilmen Bill Hawley and Stan Lakin, along with Mayor Randy Dyess, voted to move the Ordinance on second reading but continue to try to find an alternative to the increase.
The third and final reading for the Ordinance will come at their next meeting February 19th.