WADSWSORTH: Residents who are customers of the city's sewer services should expect a 4.5 percent rate hike starting February 1.
The City Council Wednesday placed on second reading legislation to put the new rates into effect and is expected to adopt the legislation at its Jan. 15 meeting in time for the increase to go into effect in February.
Service Director Chris Easton estimated the average household's sewer charge would increase by $2 per month with the new rates. He told the Committee of the Whole on Dec. 18 that the rates for Wadsworth are expected to be below the state average even with the projected increase.
Mayor Robin Laubaugh at a May Committee of the Whole meeting explained a number of factors indicated the need for a rate increase, including necessary improvements to the wastewater treatment plant based on regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, operating costs for additional chemicals and maintenance and the carryover balance was declining.
A long-term financial projection in October by Utility Financial Solutions, LLC for the city advised a 4.5 percent rate hike was needed for 2013 and each year through 2017.
The basis for the increase by that study included a projection of a 1 percent growth rate during those years, a projected 3 percent inflation rate and necessary capital improvements to the system. The five-year capital improvements to the system are expected to be $1.13 million.
Councilman Bruce Darlington noted about 5 million gallons per day are processed at the wastewater treatment plant, but only 4 million gallons of water is being used. That, according to Darlington, indicates there is a lot of infiltration into the sewer lines.
Easton told the Dec. 18 Committee of the Whole the city now has one million more gallons of water to sell which, if sold, will increase city revenues. That extra gallon is from a new water well in Rogues Hollow in Chippewa Township which became operational this year.
The city has had a sprinkling schedule in effect for more than a decade during the summer months. That schedule indicates on which days homeowners can legally water lawns. Easton explained that the Public Service Committee is expected to discuss that schedule to determine if it needs to be revised.
In other meeting action, Easton reminded residents the city will pick up Christmas trees this month. Those trees should be placed on the curb on the day of the regular trash collection. Also, Safety Director Matt Hiscock informed residents a city ordinance requires property owners to remove snow from abutting sidewalks.