Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
By Betty Lawrence
Water rate hike needed for future renovations
  COLDWATER - Village residents and business owners may see an increase in water rates in the October billing.
Council members on Monday discussed an ordinance to increase water rates from 0.945 cent to 1 cent per gallon, up to 100,000 gallons. The rate would drop to 0.8 cent per gallon for those who use more than 100,000 gallons.
Village officials have reported the water and sanitary departments are facing multi-million dollar renovations in the next 10 years. The extra finances would be used to fund EPA-mandated improvements and for replacement of aging water and sewer lines.
The minimum usage rate for customers is 6,000 gallons a quarter, and approximately one-fourth of customers are minimum users, village manager/engineer Eric Thomas said.
Thomas estimated average usage for a typical customer is about 10,000 gallons per quarter. The new rate would result in a $14 increase.
The village has 10 customers who use more than 100,000 gallons in a quarter.
Finance committee chairman Doug Bertke said there is a need to generate nearly $150,000 annually to pay for future water projects. The sanitary department has been losing money, while the water department has been breaking even, he said.
"It (the rate increase) gets us back in place where we should be," Bertke said at Monday's council meeting.
Thomas added that even with the increase, the village's water rates would still be one of the lowest in the county and in the state of Ohio.
Council members heard first reading of legislation that would increase the Coldwater Fire Department from 22 to 25 members. provide a lump sum compensation to the fire department of $19,000 per year. and set compensation for the fire chief at $1,975 annually and $875 for the assistant fire chief. Also, the department could have four qualifying members for the cadet program.
The increase in numbers allows for a larger pool of volunteers, Thomas said.
"People are busier and there have been more calls during the day for accidents, etc., and it's just nice to have a few more members in town to respond," he said.
The lump sum compensation is to be used for operational expenses and partial compensation of lost wages of volunteer firemen who respond during work hours.
The document would be effective until 2013.
In other action, council members slated a finance committee meeting for 6:30 p.m. May 16 at the municipal center to be followed by a transportation committee meeting at 7. Residents residing along the 300-400 block of West Walnut Street are invited to the transportation meeting to hear discussion on upcoming curb and gutter work along that street.
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