MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- New city officials in Marble Hill are faced with some major problems starting immediately when they embark on their terms.
The new board of aldermen faces rising water, sewer and trash collection rates to keep up with the costs of maintaining the city's water and sewer system. Also at issue is rebuilding the city lagoon and the forced sewer main currently being installed. The board must also prepare for a bond issue to pay for upgrades and avoid spending more of the city's money on state and federal fines for noncompliance. None of these problems can be put off, city administrator Tammy Whitney said; they have to be done.
Upon being sworn in Monday night as mayor of Marble Hill, Michael Sowers began his term of office by encouraging the board members to "jointly come together in unison and do right by the city of Marble Hill."
The major issue the new board faces is the city's water and sewer problem. When newly-sworn-in Alderwoman Beverly Johnson asked for the board to pay more attention to mowing Twin City Park and questioned the city's earlier decision to cut down trees in Pellegrino Park and sell the lumber to benefit the park board, she was informed that the city has bigger problems than grass and trees in the parks.
"I worry more about water, sewer and streets than what gets mowed first," said Whitney.
Sowers said hard decisions will need to be made soon.
"The city has been left to deteriorate," Sowers said. "This will not be a quick fix. We will be faced with a hard task. There will have to be decisions made, hard cuts made, and it will make people upset."
A representative from Missouri Rural Water will come to Marble Hill on May 3 to hold a public hearing and answer questions from citizens and explain the city's water and sewer situation. A specific time and location will be announced later.
Whitney said that the city is barely breaking even on its trash collection service. Rates go up about 4 percent every year, she said, and by the end of June of this year, the city will see a deficit in its trash collection. "We have three years left on the contract," she said.
Whitney suggested the city consider raising trash rates by 15 percent to cover the next three years or make smaller increases every year. "The problem is it needs to be raised higher than that," she said.
Marble Hill, MO