Residents at Choctaw Lake, among others, should expect a monthly sewer bill rate increase, after the commissioners on Monday voted to pass a recommended rate hike.
Starting April 1, the 845 homes in Sewer District Two, which covers the Choctaw Subdivision, will see a $10 a month increase to their bills.
The increase comes from a recommendation of the local sewer district board.
“It’s the first time there’s been an increase,” said John Mitchell, chairman of district’s board. “The facility itself was put together in 2003.”
He said that they need to start building up funds for repairs.
“The big thing is, we want to be prepared for any maintenance needs in the future,” said Mitchell. “Things break or get worn out and eventually need to be replaced. We would rather have the funds needed to do it, rather than petition the county for aid because we didn’t have a plan and waited until the last minute.”
The facility needs new parts, specifically the 625 grinder pumps needed to process waste in the facility. Mitchell said he thinks the current ones might be between 12 and 14 years old.
County Administrator Rob Slane said the pumps usually should have a lifespan of eight to 10 years.
“They could keep repairing them or replacing certain parts, but they will have a better success rate with just replacing [the pumps],” Slane said.
The plan is to buy 60 new replacement pumps each fiscal year, which would allow for the pumps to be replaced as their lifespan runs out. Each pump costs $1,500.
In addition, the amount of electricity used by the facility increased due to a 2014 Ohio EPA mandate to operate extra filters at the facility. The filters have a lot of moving parts which use up a lot of energy.
The commissioners also set rate increases on other districts that use county sewer facilities.
The 21 homes in Camp Wissalohican that use the county’s local development water and wastewater treatment plant will also see a $10 increase. According to Slane, the extra money there will be used for the upkeep of that facility.
Sewer District One, which covers the businesses in the area around the interchange of U.S. Route 42 and Interstate 70, will see bigger increases.
The minimum monthly rate of $25 per month will double to $50. The fee for every thousand gallons more than the initial 5,000 gallons will also rise from $7.50 to $11.40.
Slane said he was working on getting a notification out to residents who will be affected by the change.
In other business from Monday’s meeting:
• Public hearings to discuss an increase to the county’s conveyance fees will take place on March 20 and March 27 at 11 a.m. in the commissioners’ office.
Currently, county residents pay $2 for every $1,000 of transaction. The commissioners voted so that fee will increase to $3 per $1,000 of transaction on Feb. 6, but later found out that they needed to hold public hearings before it could take effect.
The fee jump is being put in place in response to the state’s proposed sales tax cut included in Gov. John Kasich’s new two-year budget. The move will cut $250,000 from Madison County in 2017 and another $250,000 in 2018.
The increase will raise about $120,000 annually, depending on the number of transactions.
• In light of the recent shooting threats made at Jonathan Alder High School, Monroe Township Trustee Philip Adelsberger visited the commissioners to spread awareness on the Jonathan Alder Community Support Coalition.
The coalition focuses on spreading awareness on mental health and other resources that will help students to deal with issues they face so they can focus on their education. Adelsberger recommended community members check out the resource guide compiled by the coalition, which can be picked up at the high school or found online under the community tab on the Jonathan Alder district website.
• Bidding was held for asphalt materials for maintaining roads. County Engineer Bryan Dhume said that based on the bids, most of the cost to the county would remain the same but it appeared there might be some small increases.
Nine companies bid to be the county’s provider in 2017. Dhume said he would announce the selected companies next week.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.