City OKs electric rate hike



August 4, 2015 - 12:00 AM

MORAN — Moran residents will pay more, slightly, in property taxes and utility bills.
City Council members on Monday approved Moran’s 2016 budget, which is supported in part with an ad valorem tax levy of 34.184 mills.
The levy is seven-tenths of a mill higher than was spent for this year.
That means the owner of a $50,000 home will spend a little more than $197 in property taxes to support the city, about $4 more than this year. (This figure does not include property taxes for the county, Allen Community College or USD 256).
Meanwhile, Council members also took a look at the city’s electric reserve fund, which remains in the black, but is losing money by the month because of higher electric rates charged to the city.
A looming rate increase proposed by Westar may cut further into the reserves as well.
“It’s not broke,” Mayor Phillip Merkel said. “It’s not in desperate straits, but it’s losing money.”
Council members pored over a number of potential rate increases before deciding on a $1 per-month meter charge increase for all electric customers but one — Moran Manor.
In addition, the city will institute a half cent-per-kilowatt hour increase across the board for all customers.
Councilman Jerry Wallis noted the new electric rates would have cost him $6 a month if they were in effect this year.
That increase in dollars would expect to shrink, Wallis added, because of high energy demands due to hot weather.
The vote to approve the budget was unanimous. Councilman Bill Bigelow abstained from the vote for higher electric rates. That vote passed 4-1.

A COUNTYWIDE community conversation will take place Monday and Tuesday, and Moran PRIDE members hope to see strong local representation.
“We’re begging somebody from the Council to go,” said Kathy Ward, representing the Moran PRIDE-Thrive Committee.
The two-day gathering at B&W Trailer Hitches in Humboldt is funded by a Kansas Health Foundation Community Engagement Initiative grant worth more than $350,000.
The funds will be used to support projects that emerge from the discussions.
“We need to be there, be represented and be informed,” Ward said.
The meeting is going to be for discussing ideas, and looking into how this money be distributed,” PRIDE member Larry Manes added. “It’d be nice if we could get some of it.”
Councilman Jim Mueller agreed to attend.