CRESTON — The Creston Village Board decided at its Tuesday meeting to raise its sewer rates in the village by 5.5 percent starting Jan. 1, 2022.
The decision comes after Rochelle Municipal Utilities, which provides sewer service for Creston, informed the board that it would be raising its rates to the village 5.5 percent every year for three years. The first increase took effect Aug. 1. The increases were made to cover improvements to RMU’s water treatment plant.
The village previously planned on increasing rates by three percent Jan. 1 to cover expenses of its own. Rather than deciding to go up to an 8.5 percent increase to cover RMU’s increase and it’s own, Creston officials opted to just raise their planned increase by 2.5 percent.
Village Treasurer Penny Payton said Creston is “holding its own” right now with its sewer fund and potential American Rescue Plan money could help with repair expenses it needs.
The board plans to finalize the rate increase at its meeting next month. The plan is for a 5.5 percent increase for three years before reverting to a three percent increase annually in 2025.
The board unanimously approved a Class A liquor license for Headon’s Fine Meats that will allow it to sell wine, beer and hard alcohol out of the shop.
A modification was also made that changed Class D licenses so Headon’s Owner Mark Hibshman could sell alcohol during off-site events like farmer’s markets. Those events would have to be approved by Village President Tom Byro, who acts as liquor commissioner.
Other Class A license holders like the Mooseknuckle could also do off-site events.
Hibshman said the change would allow for local wineries and craft brewers to come in for events like farmers markets. He also serves as a village board member and abstained from the vote.
The board unanimously approved an ordinance that will allow it to spend Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund money that it may receive. Byro said the amount would be $98,000 and it is separate from the $87,955,90 in American Rescue Plan Act funds that the village is eligible for that was discussed at last month’s meeting.
The village board agreed to lease 144.6 acres of farmland it owns to Eric Petry in a one-year contract at $310 per acre. The agreement will be finalized at next month’s meeting. Byro said the board wanted a short-term agreement because of “other things” going on in the future that may change the course of future leases.