Beginning July 1, Minden water customers can expect an 8 percent increase in their monthly bills. For the owner of a single family home, the bill will increase from $19 to $20.52.
The Minden Town Board approved the hike to pay for power, maintenance and personnel. Expenses have in-creased 16 percent since the last rate hike in 1996. They considered increases between 6 and 12 percent.
"We're not talking higher rates to support expansion of the system," said town board chair Bob Hadfield at last week's meeting.
The rate hike will be tied to an annual review of the Consumer Price Index to see if adjustments need to be made, Hadfield said.
"It's not our desire to have any kind of annual kick-in," he said. "Nobody wants to set in motion an automatic increase. We'll review the rates during the annual budget workshops."
Hadfield said since the town pumps its water, the board is concerned about possible effects of deregulation of the electricity industry.
"I'm terribly concerned about the whole issue of deregulation ... if the power rates increase. We depend on power to pull our water out of the ground," Hadfield said.
Two people spoke during a public hearing on the rate increase. A second hearing will be held June 7 before the rates go into effect in July.
"I'm willing to pay the higher rate," said Don Hellwinkel, whose family owns the C.O.D. Motor Car Co. "I just think you have to be more frugal. You have to cut some other places. That's what businesses have to do."
The town provides water to approximately 1,100 residential and 179 commercial customers.
In other action, the board considered a request from Douglas County to relocate the popular Farmers' Market from Lampe Park to Fifth Street in Minden.
The board was asked to close Fifth Street every Wednesday beginning June 7 from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. so the approximately 30 vendors would be able to set up their stands before shoppers begin arriving at 8:30 a.m.
The weekly farmers market ends in October.
Town board member Ross Chichester said he wanted to survey residents who live around Minden Park before agreeing to the request.
"We shove more and more things down their throats, and now we're being asked to close Fifth Street once a week. It's not a commercial area, it's a street," Chichester said.
Town office manager Sheila Byington will contact residents and schedule a special meeting if there are concerns.
County recreation superintendent Brian Fitzgerald said Minden merchants and others had asked that the farmers' market be relocated because the Minden Park area is more accessible than Lampe Park in Gardnerville.
"Primarily, the people who work on the Minden side of town felt they would be more able to access the market on breaks and during lunch," Fitzgerald said.
"I'm really excited about what the town of Minden has done with improvements to the CVIC Hall and the park area. It's a very attractive place. I hope the neighbors will find the benefit we see in it," Fitzgerald said.