Plain City looks to hike water, sewer rates

Rob Treynor Interim Editor

November 26, 2013

Plain City residents may want to take shorter showers in 2014.

Village Council took the first steps Monday evening toward raising water and sewer rates in Plain City. Council member Bob Walter, who also sits on the Personnel and Finance (P&F) committee, presented the P&F’s analysis of the village’s water and sewer rates during Monday evening’s village council meeting.

The analysis shows that the village is entering 2014 with a projected $101,810 deficit in the sewer capital fund. This means that village residents’ water & sewer bills aren’t covering the village’s expenses. That deficit has to be subsidized by Plain City’s general fund revenue.

Subsidizing water and sewer costs is not a common occurrence in municipalities, according to Walter. “Water and sewer cost is generally not subsidized, but the cost is directly passed on to the consumers,” Walter said.

To alleviate deficits, and to prepare for future costs, the Personnel and Finance committee recommended to council that the sewer rate should be increased 10 percent each year for the next three years (2014, 2015, 2016), the water rate should be increased five percent for that same time period and a surcharge of $10 per month, per household should be tacked on to each bill through 2016.

Council approved a motion for village solicitor Paul-Michael La Fayette to draft a resolution based on P&F’s recommendations.

That resolution will be read at the next three council meetings, two of which will be after the new year.

If all three readings pass, the soonest the rate hike could be enacted is March of 2014.

The last rate increase passed by the village was 19 years ago, in 1994. At the time, it was among the highest sewer rates in the area.