Brighton council approves first reading of rate hike

At its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Brighton City Council approved the first reading of a hike in the city’s gas rates.

The 4-0 vote – council member Chuck Emry was absent from the meeting – followed a scheduled public hearing on the issue.

“There were no comments during the public hearing,” Mayor Melvin Rich said. “We didn’t receive any written comments either.”

The ordinance sets the new base gas rate at $4.9343 per MCF (1,000 cubic feet of natural gas used), along with a $10 per month meter charge. The current rate is $3.9343 per MCF.

Rich explained that the city’s gas rates fluctuate month to month.

“We have a little bit of variance in the rate,” Rich said. “We buy gas from Clayton Energy, and the rate we charge is based on the rate we pay.”

In September, council members met with a representative from Clayton Energy to discuss transportation and other costs the city was paying.

The ordinance will still need to be voted on two more times before it goes into effect.

“We set a second reading of the ordinance for this Friday (Oct. 23),” Rich said.

The third and final reading will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

Rich said that the council voted to move its first regular November meeting from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4.

“We’ve been meeting in the community room instead of the council chambers because of social distancing,” Rich said.

Nov. 3 is Election Day, and the community room will be used as Brighton’s polling place.

“We don’t want to interfere with the voters,” Rich said.

The city already raised water and sewer rates in August to help cover the cost of a new sewage treatment plant mandated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.