SILVER LAKE — The average household’s water, sewer and stormwater bill will increase by nearly 10 percent under the water and sewer rate increases that are being reviewed by council.
The legislation had a second reading at the council meeting on Jan. 6 and a third reading is slated for Jan. 21. If the increases are approved, they would take effect with the bills rendered on or about Feb. 1.
Under the proposal, the monthly minimum fixed charge for water will increase from $11.44 to $14.94, and the variable rate would go from $3.81 to $4.38 per 100 cubic feet of water used. The monthly fixed sewer rate would rise from $30.93 to $33.98. The stormwater charge will remain at $8 per month.
If the higher rates are approved, Clerk-Treasurer Sean Housley, CPA, said the average household water, sewer and stormwater bill will rise from $97.22 per month to $106.62 per month, which is a 9.67 percent increase. The average household in the village uses 5 units of water per month.
The increases would generate $120,420 more this year, according to Housley. That number breaks down to $83,820 more per year for the water fund and $36,600 more for the sewer fund.
There are multiple reasons for the rate increases.
One reason is that Cuyahoga Falls has imposed a 15 percent increase on the amount it charges to supply water to Silver Lake. Cuyahoga Falls Deputy Service Director Teresa Hazlett said Silver Lake 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).
Housley noted rates also need to be increased to cover deficits in the water and sewer funds, and to help pay for relining of sewer manholes. The manhole work is estimated to cost $45,000, but Housley emphasized council has not appropriated the funds for the work.
Housley said council earmarked $25,000 for the replacement of water valves. Service Director Mark Lipan said the Ohio EPA requires communities to exercise all of its water valves during a five-year period. He noted the village has 504 valves and 101 need to be exercised annually during a five-year period. The EPA also wants the communities to set up a program to replace inoperable valves that are identified during the exercise process.
Housley said the village has to figure out how to fix the problem of rain water getting into the sewer system and also has aging water lines which need to be addressed.
The village’s water and sewer rates were both increased in 2018. An additional sewer rate increase was approved by council in spring 2019.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.