Brandon seeks new council member
December 12. 2013 9:15AM
Brandon Mayor Larry Beesley is looking for a new council member to replace Bob Bruning, who resigned as of Nov. 30. According to City Administrator Bryan Read, Bruning will be out of state for the next few months.
Bruning’s replacement must be from Ward 3 and will finish out his term, which ends next May. The council meets the first and third Mondays of the month, so that would be 10 meetings. Then, the seat will be open for election to a four-year term.
Anyone interested in the job should call City Hall at 582-6515 or contact the mayor or a council member individually. In similar occasions in the past, the council has conducted interviews when more than one person is interested. The mayor appoints the replacement with the council’s approval.
Water and sewer rates to go up
Starting in January, Brandon residents will see an increase in their water and sewer bills. The City Council voted Dec. 2 to increase the rates in order to start saving up for improvements in the systems as the city’s population grows.
Water rates will go up about 3 percent, and sewer rates will go up about 43 percent, according to city accounting clerk Kristina Smith.
“We have no choice but to do this,” Councilor Blaine Jones said. “Without these, we’re really kind of stifling our growth.”
Water improvements include drilling three new wells, which is underway, building two water towers and expanding the water treatment facility or building a second one. The city also continually maintains and upgrades existing pipes and equipment.
Read said the need for an expanded or new water treatment plant probably is five to 10 years out, depending on growth.
On the wastewater side, the city could continue to pump partially treated sewage to Sioux Falls or build a wastewater treatment facility to accommodate the city’s growing population.
“We don’t have to do these today,” Read said last month. “But if we don’t do them, it will be more costly over the long term to increase pumping to Sioux Falls.”
Smith said Sioux Falls more than doubled rates in January of this year, and annual increases are expected in the future.
“That kind of changes our plans for our future,” she said.
If the city decides to build a wastewater treatment plant, it could happen in five years or sooner, Read said. The city already is looking at possible sites.
“When these things come on line, we need to already have our rates in place to pay for the debt service,” Read said.
The city also needs to have rates at a level where the city will qualify for state grants to help with the improvements.
“If your rates don’t qualify, they won’t give you money,” Read said.
The next meeting of the Brandon City Council will be Monday, Dec. 16, beginning at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers, 308 Main Ave.
Residential water rates in Brandon starting Jan. 1
$7.43 monthly plus $4.35 per 1,000 gallons used or portion thereof (currently $7.21 and $4.22)
$10 monthly plus $8 per 1,000 gallons used or portion thereof (currently $7.21 and $4.22)