MUNROE FALLS — The city’s water rates will increase by 15 percent starting Jan. 20 after council approved the hike at its meeting Tuesday night.

Council voted 6-0 in favor of increasing the utility charge. Council member John Hegnauer was absent.

Under the legislation that was adopted:

• the minimum monthly charge for an allowance of 2,000 gallons will increase from $20.25 to $23.30 for residential and commercial properties;

• the charge for each 100 gallons beyond the initial 2,000 will increase from 97 cents to $1.12 for residential and commercial properties;

• the new rates will be in effect from Jan. 20 through Dec. 19.

The enacted legislation also establishes incremental increases for the subsequent three years. The rates for residential and commercial properties from Dec. 20 through Dec. 19, 2021 will be $25.60 for 2,000 gallons and $1.31 for each additional 100 gallons beyond the initial 2,000.

From Dec. 20, 2021 through Dec. 19, 2022, the rates will be $26.75 for 2,000 gallons and $1.41 for each additional 100 gallons beyond the initial 2,000.

From Dec. 20, 2022 through Dec. 19, 2023, the rates will be $27 for 2,000 gallons and $1.47 for each additional 100 gallons beyond the initial 2,000.

The city increased its rates in response to the city of Cuyahoga Falls raising the amount it is charging to provide water to the municipality. Cuyahoga Falls Deputy Service Director Teresa Hazlett said Munroe Falls will now pay $3.28 for the first 20,000 cubic feet of water (up from $2.85) it receives from Cuyahoga Falls and $2.28 for any usage exceeding 20,000 cubic feet (up from $1.98).

When Munroe Falls City Council approved a water rate increase in August 2018, the legislation included language saying the city reserved the right to "adjust its water rates" to match future increases or decreases from its water provider. That rate increase was the first one approved by the city in 19 years, but now, just over a year later, Council member Gary Toth noted they needed to do another rate hike.

"We don’t have any other choice," said Toth.

Law Director’s contract renewed

Council voted 6-0 to renew Law Director Tom Kostoff’s contract at the same pay rate he earned last year. Kostoff will continue to make $40,000 annually and will also be able to charge $175 per hour for litigation services in court and $125 an hour for public records services. The new pact runs from Feb. 1 through Jan. 31, 2021.

Kostoff thanked council for again granting him "the privilege to serve the city of Munroe Falls as its law director."

Kostoff received an 11 percent pay raise in 2019 after not receiving an increase in compensation the previous three years.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.