GREENVILLE – The Utilities Committee of Greenville City Council on Thursday reconsidered the city’s plans to increase water and sewer rates for city residents.
By unanimous consent, the three committee members approved a recommendation to council for a decrease in the planned rate increases.
A previous measure, which would have increased water tariffs by 50% in May 2021 and 18% in November 2021, as well as increases of 25 and 10% in sewer tariffs, respectively, was rejected 6-0 at the March 16 board meeting. .
Instead, the committee will change the recommended increase percentages to 20% in September 2021 and 10% in March 2022, for both water and sewage. Each following year, we would see increases of 20% in September and 10% in March, for a period of 3 years. Thereafter, the tariffs for each utility would increase by 5% per year unless they were reviewed by the council.
The committee will continue to recommend moving from quarterly billing to monthly billing starting in September.
The committee discussed various ways to ease the burden on citizens while still being able to afford infrastructure upgrades, including a new water tower and main waterline.
“The intention is to put the money in a safe place where it can only be spent on infrastructure,” Councilor John Baumgardner said. “It’s my heartburn and I believe it’s the heartburn of the rest of the board.”
“Compared to other towns and even villages around us, we are still the cheapest water tariff, and I think there is a need for it. All we want to do is protect that money for infrastructure, ”he added.
Security and Services Director Ryan Delk told the committee that even beyond infrastructure improvements, operating costs “continue to rise.”
“One example, transporting sewage sludge, prices continue to skyrocket,” Delk said. “For the transport of water pipes, the last [estimate] was $ 150,000, and the next closest auction was $ 350,000. “
Delk added that the COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in increased construction costs.
Baumgardner, along with Councilors Clarence Godwin and Doug Wright, agreed that a small increase in funding for daily expenses was needed.
When asked if the city is exploring outside funding options, such as federal or state infrastructure grants, Delk said the city is looking for them, but there are conditions that must be met by the city before it can in. make a request.
“Our plan is, once we get the rates online, that we can support to pay off low interest loans. We want to move forward with two of our big projects, which is the main water line entering the plant, around $ 1.5 million, and what we call “ Water Tower East ” in the industrial park, or approximately $ 6.5 million. Said Delk.
“Because our rates are so low, they [EPA, USDA, Small Cities] will not give us grants, ”Baumgardner said.
The committee will bring the revised recommendations to Greenville City Council at the April 20 council meeting.
The Greenville utilities committee met on Thursday to review its recommendations on water and sewer rate increases. The committee will recommend increases that are smaller than those initially planned, but extended over time.
To contact Darke County Media Editor Erik Martin, email [email protected] or call 937.569.4312.