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Meeting Preview: Utilities to ask City Council for water rate hike

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission will ask the City Council on Monday night to set a public hearing for Jan. 10 to consider increasing city water rates in 2011 and 2012.

A utility official says the increase is necessary to avoid a deficit of 12 percent to 16 percent in the Water Department for those years.

The Utilities Commission is asking the council to approve an annual increase of 6 percent in non-summer month rates. The commission is also requesting a 20 percent increase in the rate for summer months, which is due to a state conservation requirement.

The effect of the two rates will result in an increase of 9 percent to 10 percent in customer charges per year. The council must approve the rate increase. The council will consider the hearing request during the Finance Committee report.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. in the chambers of the Municipal Utilities Building. The council will also receive reports from the Public Works/Safety Committee and Labor Relations Committee.

The council will consider a request for a special event permit from Baker's Eagle Creek Eatery LLC to allow distribution or consumption of alcohol during a New Year's Bonspiel sponsored by the Willmar Curling Club on Jan. 7 and 8 at the Civic Center.

Also, the council:

- Consider renewal of on-sale and club on-sale liquor licenses.

- Consider setting a hearing to amend the home occupation ordinance regulating family-member-only employees. The proposed amendment would allow a home occupation to have up to two non-family member employees residing at another address based on business type of operations.

- Consider next month's meeting dates for Jan. 10 reorganizational meeting and the second meeting for Jan. 24.