Ted Kelly, principal with Burns & McDonnell, provided the Independence City Council Monday night with an update on the city’s Water Department conditions and operations. According to Kelly, the water facilities and equipment are in good condition and are well-maintained.

Drink up, Independence.

Water, that is.

Ted Kelly, principal with Burns & McDonnell, provided the Independence City Council Monday night with an update on the city’s Water Department conditions and operations. According to Kelly, the water facilities and equipment are in good condition and are well-maintained.

The report covered from Jan. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2009, and such three-year reports are required by contract for the 1986 water utility revenue bonds. Kelly said he participated in on-site facility visits with city of Independence staff while compiling his report.

Additionally, the Water Department maintains a comprehensive maintenance program on a regular time schedule, Kelly said, in keeping with “good industry standards.”

The revenues “had been sufficient” to pay for the operations and maintenance costs of the water system and debt payments in 2007 but failed to meet the requirements during the 2008 and 2009 calendar years, Kelly said.

“We did discuss that and found that some steps had been taken by the Water Department as far as adjusting rates, controlling expenditures,” Kelly said, “and we did make a forecast for the next three years.”

According to Kelly, the Water Department plans to meet its financial requirements for 2010, 2011 and 2012 based on predicted revenues that include additional revenues from approved rate increases.

“The actual expenses that are being incurred by the Water Department are being monitored closely and controlled …” he said.

Overall, Kelly said, the Water Department is “economically providing customers with safe, high-quality and good-tasting local water.”

The Independence Water Department supplies water to about 250,000 people, including residents of Independence and 11 wholesale customers. The Courtney Bend Water Treatment Plant provides the water supply through wells. That well water is then softened and disinfected at the treatment plant and meets all federal and state quality regulations, according to the city’s website.


Parks Department celebrates successful 2010 summer season

Perhaps the incredibly warm weather this summer contributed to the Independence Parks and Recreation Department’s successful season at facilities like the Centerpoint Medical Center Community Ice and Adventure Oasis Water Park.

Whatever the cause, parks and recreation staff members shared dozens of statistics Monday night about the past four months at more than a half dozen city facilities. Mayor Don Reimal called the presentation a representation of how well the city’s recently renewed parks sales tax is spent to provide amenities for citizens.  

Here is a snapshot of just some of the numbers:

Centerpoint Medical Center Community Ice: 450 public skate sessions; 34,821 admissions; and 28,723 skate rentals. Calling it the No. 1 public comment at the community ice rink, City Manager Robert Heacock said concerns had been expressed regarding the comfort of the skate rentals.

“We are looking at opportunities to replace those,” Heacock said. “It may not happen overnight … but what we were led to believe would be a great buy for years to come … are not quite as comfortable as people would like to have.”

He also praised the ice rink’s staff members, saying they are “just scratching the surface with the potential” at the facility attached to the 10-month-old Independence Events Center.

Mayor Don Reimal encouraged fellow City Council members to carry Monday night’s study session presentation in their pockets and to share it with community groups and residents.

Adventure Oasis Water Park: 68,197 patrons visited the park this summer, resulting in the sale of 250 season passes, a record 300 punch cards and more than 100 birthday party packages. Residents also brought more than 130 canine participants for the inaugural Dippin’ Dogs that immediately followed the regular season pool closure.

George Owens Nature Park: Sixteen sessions of Nature Story Time with 300 participants; two guided night hikes at full capacity; and three night fishing programs were among the summer’s highlights. The events will continue throughout the fall with Youth Hike Night, Enchanted Forest, Family Fall Hike and the seventh annual Winter Solstice Hike in December.   

Truman Memorial Building: Highlights at this multipurpose building included 263 facility reservations, 210 wedding ceremonies and the re-enactment of the Swope/Hyde murder trial.

Roger T. Sermon Community Center: More than 1,000 fitness class participants visited the Sermon Center this summer, and nearly 1,200 fitness memberships took place. The facility added two elliptical machines and one treadmill for workouts.

Palmer Center: Twelve day trips took place this summer with more than 500 Palmer Center participants. More than 7,000 meals were served at Palmer Center, and more than 8,000 home meals also were delivered.

More than 80 regular volunteers at Palmer Center continually supplement the work of the full-time staff. Such volunteers contributed 5,243 service hours this summer.