2018-12-05 / Front Page

8% Water, 13% Sewer Rate Hikes Still Coming; Big Users To See Smaller Jumps

Archbold Village Council held the first reading of two ordinances that, if passed, will increase village water and wastewater rates.

Council read one version of the ordinances at the Monday, Nov. 19 meeting.

Then, at its Monday, Dec. 3 meeting, a second version of the two ordinances was read.

At the Dec. 3 meeting, council decided to pass the rate increases in three readings.

Council does most of its legislative business by declaring an emergency.

In order to declare an emergency, council must first vote to suspend the rules, which requires yes votes from four of six council members.

They then vote on the actual measure.

Council uses the “emergency” process to pass legislation in one meeting as opposed to stretching out a decision six weeks.

Council decided informally at its Dec. 3 meeting it would pass the rate hikes after three readings to allow time for feedback from the public.

Donna Dettling, village administrator, said at the meeting because the proposed rate increases will not take effect until June 1, 2019, council has time to approve the issues.

Survey

She presented a survey of water and wastewater rates of nearby towns, which shows Archbold below most, at the Nov. 19 meeting.

“We’re still doing very well with our rates compared to other communities,” Dettling said.

Dettling noted that other communities are looking at their rates, as well.

The proposed rate increase for most homeowners is 8% for water and 13% for wastewater.

Rates had been hiked by the same amounts in 2017, for the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, and then again on July 1, 2108.

Council approved the hikes in a 2017 vote.

“Smoothing”

Dettling said at the Dec. 3 meeting the revised versions of the two ordinances include some “smoothing” for large water and wastewater customers.

In a later email to this newspaper, Dettling said all water customers will see the rates go up from $3.37 per 1,000 gallons to $3.64 on the first 1 million gallons.

Customers who use over 1 million gallons per month will see their rate increase by by 4%, from $2.97 to 3.09 per 1,000 gallons.

Only three water customers– ConAgra, Frozen Specialties, and Sauder Woodworking– use more than 1 million gallons of water per month.

For all wastewater customers, the cost to treat the first 1,000 gallons will increase 13%.

Over 1,000 gallons, the cost goes from $3.97 to $4.23 per 1,000 gallons, a 6.5% increase.

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