By Meladi Brewer
VERSAILLES — The Versailles Village Council met Wednesday to discuss the cemetery and water costs.
Discussion was had regarding the Village Administrator Mike Busse entering into a contract for the purchase and setup of record keeping software for the cemetery. The software recommendation is Cemify Cemetery and mapping software and will provide a way to update the current records the village has.
“We’ve been looking at records, and they are all hand-done records with a typewriter or on index cards. Those records over time are starting to degrade,” Busse said.
He advised it is necessary to put those records on a computer in order to ensure none are lost and to make it easier for guests and employees to look up the deceased loved ones.
“Most cemeteries have software nowadays. It not only includes the record keeping portion, but if somebody wants to look up where a loved one is, it is all in a GPS location that can be pulled up on one’s phone,” Busse said.
Busse advised eventually they could add QR Codes at the entrances of the cemetery, so guests can go to the gate, scan the code, and find whom they are looking for.
“It can take you to the website that shows you where everybody is interned, and you can look them up. We can get fancy with it. Some cemeteries are putting QR codes on the headstones, so not only can you look up the person but get a little biography with it,” Busse said.
Busse advised the village could get as fancy as they would like, but it is not what the Cemetery Board is proposing at this time. The proposed cost for the project is $14,685 for the initial setup and a $1,239 per year annual maintenance fee. Visitors will not only be able to view the purchases plots, but they will also be able to see empty plots as well if they would like to purchase one.
Village water and sewer customers may see a price increase due to the cost of inflation. The Finance & Audit Committee is ready to prepare legislation to adjust rates, terms, and conditions for water and sanitary sewer services provided by the Village of Versailles.
“Basically we have an expansion going on in our water system, primarily being the well field and the well waterline back into town,” Busse said. “We calculated what our estimated expenses were going to be for that including loan repayment, and we will have to regenerate revenue in order to cover those costs.”
Busse advised the anticipated costs are about $328,000 per year. The village is proposing an increase that would generate an estimated $301,273 a year.
“That will be a $6.92 increase to the water customer charge, and it will be a $1 per 100 cubic foot increase to the water usage,” Busse said.
There were talks of an increase in sewage rates as well; however, it was advised it is difficult to say how much of an increase a customer will see on their bill due to it depending on how much water a household utilizes.
“We have spent a lot of time in our office having discussions about the increases, and we feel like we have come up with the best proposal for where we are at right now,” Busse said.
The rate increases will not be solely customer based by the rates being charged to the customers. The council understands there is going to be some negative backlash due to the rate increases.
“No one wants their bill to go up – I certainly don’t want my bill to go up,” Busse said” but I can guarantee that your grocery bill has gone up by more than $14 a month in the last year.”
Busse advised the council he applauded their concerns and thanked them for asking questions. He said the Village is “not making money by drilling wells and selling water.”
Busse said the village is just trying to break even. The village approved a motion to draft legislation, and once all the details are worked out, there will be a public announcement to all village residents with more detailed information regarding the subject matter.
“Mr. (Kyle) Francis and I have nothing to hide here, and we would be happy to sit down with anybody in the community to talk about and explain where we are and what it takes to pay the bills,” Busse said.
The village council will make public announcements once legislation has been passed and formalized.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].