Gallatin Board of Aldermen, with lengthy agenda, approve ordinance related to commercial structures billed for utility cost

Gallatin City Hall

The Gallatin Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance on November 23rd establishing rules related to multiple-unit commercial structures to be billed for utility cost of service.

City Clerk Hattie Rains explains the ordinance provides a definition and acknowledges that multiple units within the same commercial structure would have to adhere to additional cost of service fees per additional unit if they are metered under one meter at the current rate.

The board also approved billing all apartments at the Rest Easy Apartments as residential users across all utilities. Residential users in Gallatin are to be charged the current cost of service for electricity, water, and sewer.

Current rates for electric cost of service are $10 for residential and $20 for commercial. The first 1,000 gallons of water are $38.95 and more than 1,000 cost $7.25 per 1,000 gallons. The multi-unit cost of service is an additional $31.70 per unit for water. The first 1,000 gallons for sewer cost $25.50 and more than 1,000 are $4.50 per 1,000 gallons. The multi-unit cost of service is an additional $21 per unit.

The board accepted Finley Engineering for upgrading the 2400 electrical system at an estimated $14,750. Administrator Lance Rains, Public Works Director Mark Morey, and Alderman Dan McCann interviewed two engineers to upgrade the electrical system. Rains recommended the board consider working with the larger engineering firm, so it could establish a relationship for other possible projects in the future.

Health insurance quotes were also accepted. Health, dental, vision, and life insurance for 2021 will be through Heritage Companies/Todd Childers. City Clerk Rains said the City of Gallatin is currently with that company. Medical alone will be $505.88 per employee per month.

Charlie Zitnik with D. A. Davidson discussed street project financing options. He confirmed that since the street project does not involve Gallatin’s water system, the United States Department of Agriculture approval is not required to obtain financing. He did say if a major street resurfacing project is planned, continued maintenance is needed since streets have a short life.

The board agreed to have Zitnik run financing terms for a $75,000 annual payment for seven years funded through the transportation sales tax. The funding would be used to resurface West Grand and possibly East Berry and Corrine. Only using $75,000 for the transportation tax would allow for the remaining transportation tax funds to be used for chip/seal and hot mix projects.

Zitnik reported other cities have proposed by ballot measure to remove the sunset portion of sales tax. If the sunset was removed, it could help secure longer funding terms for projects.

Other funding needs were disclosed. There was a discussion on a possible option of rolling in the dump truck financing and advanced metering infrastructure financing with the street resurfacing project.  Zitnik requested the board state the timing needed for financing. He recommended if the board did not need the street or AMI system financing immediately, it would be in its best interest to wait until the financing is needed to avoid interest payments.

Morey provided two AMI system bids for the board to consider. Details of the cost and methods of data collection for the two systems were discussed.

Alderman Dan Lockridge recommended the board move forward with the dump truck and AMI financing options and wait to consider the street project financing for West Grand specifically. The board directed Administrator Rains to seek Community Development Block Grant funds for a street project in the future.

Discussion of dump truck financing options was postponed until the next meeting.

The board agreed to move forward with H. L. Sinkhorn for tree trimming services since no other bid was received. The board only agreed to $20,000 of tree trimming, which was budgeted.

Mid States is still taking down old cable lines and installing new fiber lines. Morey noted Mid States’s tree trimmers are addressing problem areas. He explained there are eight to 10 small areas in town that the electrical crew needs to repair before Mid-States can move into those areas. The City of Gallatin can bill Mid-States for the work performed in those areas.

Morey reported he contacted Rural Water to assist with researching a water issue on Cedar Street. Crews have dug up Cedar several times but have not located the root cause of water in the street. He said Rural Water will use correlators to help identify the original source of the water.

Police Chief Mark Richards gave updates on property complaints.

The board met in closed session to discuss employees.