HASTINGS, Minn. — Hastings City Council approved a rental agreement to use the East Metro Public Training Facility in Maplewood on behalf of the Hastings Fire Department.

In past years, the Fire Department has conducted live fire training exercises in old buildings acquired throughout its service area. However, this method of training has become difficult to maintain with the lack of available buildings that the owners are willing to have burned.

The city’s budget for 2019 included renting a facility, with the Fire Department hoping to accomplish this prior to the end of the year. A six-hour rental for the burn tower for class A live fire is $750 plus consumables.

The East Metro Public Safety Training Facility was appealing due to its standard rental agreement. City Attorney Dan Fluegel said that there’s no financial commitment to the city if the facility isn’t used by the Fire Department.

City fee adjustments

Council approved a first reading of an ordinance amendment adjusting city fees, with a public hearing scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16.

City staff is recommending a 5% increase in water rates since the water fund is projected to have a negative cash flow due to infrastructure projects. Staff noted the cost to the water fund is significant, and they’re working closely to keep the rate increases reasonable.

In addition to the water rate, staff is recommending a 3% increase to sewer rates to keep in line with inflationary increases. A 3% increase was also recommended for the storm water fund, which funds future capital projects.

In all, it is anticipated that the increase will create a neutral or positive revenue stream, according to a city council memorandum. Single-family homes will see an increase of $5.50 in 2020.