March 26, 2021
I have great news to report! At a special meeting held on March 10, 2021, the governing body voted unanimously to apply for a low interest utility loan offered by the State of Kansas. City staff received notification on March 16, 2021 that the city was awarded a loan in the amount of $5.3M to pay for the upcoming natural gas billing that was incurred during the cold weather crisis the middle of February.
At that same special meeting, the council voted unanimously to support the loan repayment to the state on a “per meter” surcharge, monthly over a ten-year period to minimize the financial impact to our end-users to the greatest degree possible. Our utility accounting system, although current by municipal accounting standards, does not allow us to establish individual payment plans, therefore this method of recovery was the only viable solution. We believe this will ease the unexpected financial expense for all of us.
This means that you will get a surcharge on your fuel consumption going forward for the next ten years of approximately $1.90 per unit in addition to the normal charge. On average, it will result in an estimated 32% increase in your billing. By comparison, if we had not taken the loan and amortized it over the ten-year period, and simply sent each account their total billing for the period used, the average billing would have been in the thousands of dollars, resulting in an estimated 1500% increase.
Let me reiterate that work continues with our local, state, and federal leadership to encourage their help in seeking financial restitution on this issue to the greatest degree possible. If anything changes in that regard, we will communicate with you at that time.
This has been a trying time for everyone. This was very likely a “once in a lifetime” experience we all hope will never be encountered again. Thank you for being understanding and patient with us.
David K. Kauffman
Please see the following example of how to calculate your bill: