AURORA — At its final meeting of 2018 on Dec. 17, City Council approved raising the water capital fee and the rate for sewer usage, both effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin recently told Council a rate study done for the city indicates the need for a boost in rates to ensure there is enough revenue for maintenance.

The water capital fee will increase from $20 to $25, while the sewer rate increase is 4 percent. 

City officials said average water users have been paying about $140 quarterly, and that would rise about $5. Average quarterly sewer bills of $91.54 will rise to $95.20, and the total average quarterly bills for water and sewer combined will rise from $231.51 to $240.17.

"We have done several major water line projects in recent years, and the study indicates more significant upgrades are needed," Womer Benjamin said. "I think the increase is reasonable."

The city has not raised sewer rates since 2010. Although the rate study recommended a significant increase in both water and sewer rates for 2019, the mayor said the city chose a more modest approach.

Future water capital projects include more water line replacements, a future water tower or replacement of existing ones, and operational and EPA-imposed upgrades.

On the capital side, a consultant has recommended wastewater treatment plant upgrades prioritized over a 15- to 20-year period so the city can better manage the costs.

Service Director Harry Stark has said engineering to improve the sludge treatment process will commence in 2019, and the city also will work to eliminate inflow and infiltration problems.

Several surrounding communities charge higher rates for water and sewer than Aurora’s rate, including Solon, Hudson, Stow, Reminderville and Cuyahoga Falls. Solon charges an average of $263 per quarter, while Cuyahoga Falls is at $390.

Council also OK’d revising and increasing various rates and charges assessed by Aurora effective Jan. 1, including those contained in the sanitary sewer regulations, water, cemetery and site development regulations of city ordinances.

The increases reflect cost of living increases in prices occurring generally.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com