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Farmington Fred addresses rise in utility bills

The online character Farmington Fred will soon share the message of why Farmington residents will see an increase in quarterly utility bills.

Katy Gehler, city engineer and director of public works, explained how staff decided this was an optimum way to educate residents. Fred has shown up as the online face to communicate other city messages and ordinances.

"We can put the video on the city website and it will be pushed out through social media," Gehler said.

The short video shows Fred reviewing his water and utility quarterly bill. When he discovers there will be an adjustment to rates for city services, he decides to make a city of Farmington City Hall.

The short video is laced with humor from city staff that play parts in the educational messaging. It gives residents a detailed breakdown on why utility rates will be going up.

Gehler is shown explaining the rate rise to Farmington Fred in the video as she goes over each city service on the bill.

The blue city water tower that stands off of 195th Street and Pilot Knob Road will be getting new paint. Gehler explained how the water tower is functioning fine but it needs some updating and a new coat of paint after 20 years.

Since more residents are calling Farmington home, the city will begin to drill a new water well that will replace an aging one that meets the water demands of residents and businesses, Gehler said.

Since much of the city water literally goes down the drain, Gehler explained in greater detail the sewer portion of the bill.

"The sewer portion of the bill covers the costs of the more and more sewer lines that need to be cleaned and replaced for the aging sewer system," she explained.

In addition, storm water travels through holding ponds where sentiments are allowed to settle.

Gehler explained willow trees are growing along the banks of waterways. The invasive baby willows can eventually interfere with the integrity of city trials and walking paths.

"The city has a plan to manage these trails and it is taking steps to make sure this does not continue to happen," Gehler explained.

Last year, the cost of waste disposal went up 31 percent.

The utility rate change on average will add about $2 a month on utility bills.