Proposal would increase Hartford's sewer rate

Don Campbell / HP staff The Hartford City Hall is pictured Nov. 17, 2017.

HARTFORD — Sewer rates and whether or not to opt out of allowing recreational marijuana facilities will be among the topics at the Hartford City Commission’s workshop meeting tonight. 

With the city’s Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater Grant complete, City Manager Yemi Akinwale wrote in his monthly report that it’s time to focus on implementing the findings, which could require an increase in rates for customers.

He said the condition of the sanitary and storm sewer distribution system is not as bad as anticipated, but there are some vulnerable areas that need urgent attention. In addition, the city’s operational revenue is not adequate to address those vulnerable areas and allow for longevity. 

Akinwale is proposing to the city commission to increase the capital reserve charge for sewer services by $4 per monthly billing period.

“It affects everyone basically the same way without any special regard for volume usage,” Akinwale said in his monthly report. “This would allow the city to start addressing the vulnerable sections discovered during the project as quickly as possible by utilizing the city’s manpower. There could be a tremendous cost saving to the city.”

The new rates would go into effect March 1 if approved at the city commission’s business meeting on Jan. 28.

Hartford commissioners also will discuss whether or not to opt out of having recreational marijuana facilities in the city. 

If the state fails to put licensing requirements into place by the end of the year, applicants can apply straight to the municipality in which it wants to be located and it has to be granted unless it conflicts with an ordinance. 

“This means that the city would have to adopt the necessary ordinance to issue a license and must be able to enforce it too,” Akinwale said in his monthly report.  

The city approved an ordinance allowing medical marijuana facilities in November 2017. In June, the city commission approved an application for a dispensary at 309 W. Main St. The facility is still in the process of being licensed by the state. 

At the start of tonight’s meeting, the city commission will hold a show cause hearing to determine why buildings at 32 and 34 W. Main St. should not be demolished. 

“I have done my very best to assist the owners of these two buildings to rehabilitate them without any major success,” Akinwale said. “These two buildings are now beyond any reasonable repair and would have to be demolished because of their compromised structural conditions.”

He said the two buildings are having severe impacts on the adjacent buildings and he has offered the owners funding through the city’s Downtown Development Authority to assist in repairing the buildings. 

“The two properties have delinquent property issues, which shows that the owners are not concerned about them,” Akinwale said.

After the hearing, the city can officially condemn the buildings and advertise for demolition bids.  

Tonight’s meeting and next Monday’s business meeting are at 7:30 p.m.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman