The November 5 election holds the answer for Monroe City’s sewer system future. Several community members have voiced their opinions on this matter in one way or another. The bond issue to be found on the ballot leaves voters with two choices, vote yes for the sewer bill to double and vote no for the sewer bill to triple. Regardless of the outcome, Monroe City will still have to find a way to make the appropriate changes to improve the sewer system to meet the Department of Natural Resources regulations.
In a recent pamphlet mailed to the public, it states the City’s goal is to address system deficiencies while minimizing the financial burden on the users. The City has made applications to various state and federal funding agencies for financial assistance in the form of grants and low-interest loans. The grants and loans cannot be approved without the bond approval. In order to be eligible for these grants and loans, the City must indicate its ability to contribute to the cost of the project.
The authorization and issuance of bonds would indicate that ability by increasing the sewage rates of the customers with their approval through an elected vote.
If the bond was to fail, the City could be subject to increased funds and forced to complete improvements on a pay-as-you-go basis and/or be forced to take out the full 10-million-dollar loan from a bank with higher interest rates, causing higher sewer bills.
The bond appears on the ballot from the July 25 City Council meeting, when the council voted to seek the voters’ approval for the new bond issue. The City discussed the importance educating the community on the importance of the need for the sewer plant and had concerns regarding voter turn-out in an off-year election. To educate the community on the sewer system bond proposal, citizens of the City should have seen pamphlets in their mailbox explaining what the proposal is and how it will affect each household. The City also held two informational meetings in October for the public to attend. At these meetings concerned citizens attended the meetings to ask questions and hear from City officials about the proposed sewer system bond.
The November 5 special election ballot will have the following question on the ballot: Shall the City of Monroe City, Missouri, issue its sewerage system revenue bonds in the amount of $7,700,000 for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, furnishing, equipping, extending and improving the City’s sewerage system, including the acquisition of real estate and easements related thereto, the cost of operation and maintenance of said system and the principle of and interest on said revenue bonds to be payable solely from the revenues derived by the City from the operation of its sewerage system, including all future extensions and improvements thereto? Voting yes will approve the 7.7-million-dollar bond and double the sewer rates. Voting no will force the City to find other options for sewer improvements and could triple sewer rates.