The Brookfield City Council met Sept. 25 to unanimously approve increased water and sewer rates.

The council also discussed plans for the old Brookfield High School and renewed contracts with two city employees.

The Brookfield City Council met Tuesday to approve Ordinance No. 18-09. The ordinance approves new water and sewer rates. Water rates have gone up 2-percent and sewer rates have gone up 2.6-percent.

The new water rate for 5,000 gallons of water used in a month is $25.10 and the new sewer rate is $13 per $1,000 of metered water usage of water meters that are connected to the sanitary sewage system. The minimum charge per month of $4.99 will stay the same.

Previously, the rates had been raised annually to pay off the city’s debt service. According to Brookfield City Manager Dana Tarpening, the council decided they would need to raise the rates to pay off their debt service.

Water and sewer rates did not go up last year. For the first time in about 20 years, the water and sewer rates stayed the same for 2017.

The Brookfield City Council approved a 2018-2019 budget during their September meeting. In the budget passed by the council, is a $400,000 surplus allocated for demolition of the old Brookfield High School.

As previously reported, the City of Brookfield attained full ownership of the school earlier this summer. The city has been working to gain full ownership of the building for the past several years. In the past, there have been interests to build on the ground.

Currently, the plan is to demolish the outdated building.

“Our first goal was to acquire the building, now that we’ve done that the next step is to demolish the building,” Tarpening said.

The surplus in the budget was generated by a Brookfield quarter-cent sales tax. The tax was renewed during the April Linn County Municipal Election. The tax has been renewed every four years since it was first passed in 1997. The demolition is currently set to begin the fall of 2019.

In other business, the council unanimously renewed two employee contracts. Brookfield IDA and Brookfield City Manager positions were both renewed for Becky Cleveland and Dana Tarpening, respectively.

Cleveland’s contract approves her for a $27,366 yearly salary. Cleveland’s job is to bring new businesses to Brookfield and work with existing businesses. Tarpening was approved for a $76,500 yearly salary. Tarpening’s job is run the City of Brookfield. May 1, 2018, marked Tarpening’s fifth year as Brookfield’s City Manager.

Tarpening says she’s happy to serve Brookfield.

“I’m grateful the council has this much faith in me,” Tarpening said. “I have a lot of projects in the making and I’m always trying to make Brookfield a better place to live for everyone.”