By Chad Koenen
There will not be a shortage of projects on the horizon for the City of Henning and the utility department. In order to get the city council up to speed on several of the upcoming projects, as well as things like the utility rates, the Henning City Council held a special work session on Wednesday night.
The work session was designed to be informational and no actual business was conducted during the meeting.
As part of the work session, Utility Supervisor Ted Strand said the city will likely need to increase its natural gas rate in the near future. He presented the city council with a comparison on natural gas rates with neighboring communities and said even with an increase in rates, Henning will be lower than some of the neighboring communities. His proposal, which would need to be approved during the regularly scheduled city council meeting on July 12, would increase the base rate from $6 per month to $10 per month and the MCF from $8.85 to $10.
“We are still behind what our neighbors are doing but it will generate between $2,000-12,000 per month more in revenue for us,” said utility supervisor Ted Strand.
Strand said the city raised water, sewer and electric rates already this year so the city should be in good shape rate wise until the fall. He said he would like to get a rate study to look at the city’s current utility rates as the current rate study goes through just 2023.
The city council also received an update on the Inman Street project.
Henning Police Chief Mike Helle said the city recently held a meeting with the contractor for the project. The contractor said they are planning to start the utility and road project near Willow Creek around July 10-11. As part of the project, residents on Ellenson Dr., may lose water or have low water pressure for a few hours due to the way the water is delivered to that part of town.
The hope was to minimize the impact of low water pressure as much as possible.
Other highlights of the meeting included:
• Discussed the sidewalk near the former Henning Advocate building. When the building was taken down earlier this year it was discovered that there is cobblestone abutting the sidewalk for a large portion of that part of town. The cobblestone was left in place until next summer’s Highway 108 project comes to town due to a concern of affecting damage to properties.
• Discussed the current three on-sale liquor limit in Henning. The council learned that many neighboring communities do not limit the amount of on-sale liquor licenses in the city limits.
• Heard that the utility department will run a test on the sub station in July to test for hot spots, before coming up with a plan to repair or replace the sub station.
• Heard that the phase one portion of the electrical project continues to make progress. The plan is to take down some of the overheard poles in the near future. The utility staff said they have discovered some projects in phase one that were not completed and are busy finishing up that work. They have also discovered some light poles that are being held up by the actual electrical wires.
• Discussed the water treatment plant project. The renovation project was estimated to cost $3 million, but Strand said upon further review some items were not included in that project which should be replaced as well. He said the plan is to come up with a water treatment project that will be simple, yet provide clean water for area residents. He said the city is reviewing different plans.
• Heard the utility meters for large customers were recently calibrated. The project began last year, but was just recently completed.